Research design

Research design is a master plan that specifies the methods and procedures for collecting and analyzing the needed information.
The design includes an outline of what the researcher will do from writing the hypothesis and its operational implications to the final analysis of data.
More explicitly, the design decisions happen to be in respect of:

i.What is the study about?

ii.Why is the study being made?

iii.Where will the study be carried out?

iv. What type of data is required?
v. Where can the required data be found?
vi. What periods of time will the study include?
vii. What will be the sample design?
viii. What techniques of data collection will be used?
ix. How will the data be analyzed?
x. In what style will the report be prepared?

Based on the designed decision one may split the overall research design into the following parts:
a.The sampling design which deals with the method of selecting items to be observed for the given study;
b.The observational design which relates to the conditions under which the observations are to be made;
c.The statistical design which concerns with the questions of how many items are to be observed and how the information and data gathered are to be analyzed; and
d.The operational design which deals with the techniques by which the procedures specified in the sampling, statistical and observational designs can be carried out.

From what has been stated above, we can state the important features of a research design as follows:

a)It is plan that specifies the sources and types of information relevant to the research problem.

b)It is strategy specifying which approach will be used for gathering and analyzing the data.

c)It also includes the time and cost budgets since most studies are done under these two constraints.

In brief, research design must, at least, contain-

(a)A clear statement of the research problem;

(b)Procedures and techniques to be used for gathering information;

(c)The population to be studied; and

(d)Methods to be used in processing and analyzing data.

Features of Good Design

A good design should be-




Economical and so on.

The design which minimizes bias and maximizes the reliability of the data collected and analyzed is considered a good design.

Important Concepts Relating to Research Design

1.Dependent and Independent Variables

2.Extraneous Variable

3.Control: It is needed to minimize the influence or effect of extraneous variables. Control refers to the restrain experimental conditions;

4.Confounded relationship: When the dependent variable is not free from the influence of extraneous variables, the relationship between the dependent and independent variables is said to be confounded by and extraneous variables

5. Research hypothesis: When a prediction or a hypothesized relationship is to be tested by scientific methods, it is termed as research hypothesis. A research hypothesis must contain a dependent and an independent variable.

  1. Experimental and non-experimental hypothesis-testing research: When the purpose of research is to test a research hypothesis, it is termed as hypothesis-testing research. It can be Experimental design or non-experimental design. If the independent variable is manipulated is called Experimental hypothesis testing research and vice versa.
  2. Experimental and control groups: When a group is exposed to usual conditions, it is termed as ‘control group’ but when the group is exposed to some novel or special conditions, it is termed an ‘experimental group’.
  3. Treatments: The different conditions under which experimental and control groups are put are usually referred to as ‘treatments’.
  4. Experiment: The process of examining the truth of a statistical hypothesis, relating to some research problem, is known as an experiment. Absolute experiment and Comparative experiment.
  5. Experimental unit: The pre-determined plots or the blocks, where different treatments are used, are known as experimental units.

Different Research Designs

Different research designs can be conveniently described if we categorize them as:

1)Research design in case of exploratory research studies;

2)Research design is case of descriptive and diagnostic research studies and,

3)Research design in case of hypothesis-testing research studies.

1. Research design in case of exploratory research studies

Example: Smoking is a problem? Is it really a problem?

Steps in Research/Design of the Research/ Research Proposal

1.Selection of Title

2.Reference to Problem Environment

3.Identification and Defining the Problem

4.Setting the Objectives and Hypothesis

5.Review of Literature and Identifying the hiatus/research gap.


7.Scopes and Limitations

8.Methods of Research/Methodology


-Techniques for Data Collection

-Statistical Tools

-Data Analysis




-Final Report

Methods of Research

Research methods is the functional action strategy to carry out a research project in the light of the theoretical framework and guiding research questions.

Classification of Methods of Research:

A scientific investigation requires one or more research methods which enable a researcher to conduct the study systematically.

Classification of Methods of Research

1.Scientific/Experimental/Laboratory Research Method:

2.Social Science/Empirical/Survey Research Method

3.Action Research/Social Experimental Research Method

4.Research Method of Documentary Analysis or Content Analysis

5.Descriptive Research Method

6.Case Study Method

7.Participatory Research Method

8.Historical Research Method

9.Anthropological Research Method

10.Scaling Techniques