Research Design

www.metamorph.org/research/research_design/
www.metamorph.org/research/research_design/

Continued from: Theoretical framework and hypothesis development

Research design is a roadmap for researchers. It is step by step approach. Research design is prepared keeping in view some basic questions like “What would be scope of my study?” or “What data do I need to collect?” or something like “What methods will I use to collect the data and how will I justify them?”

A leading author, Donald R. Cooper, had defined research design as follows: “The research design constitutes the blue-print for collection, measurement and analysis of data. It aids the scientist in allocation of his limited resources by posing crucial choices: Is the blueprint to include experiments, interviews, observations, the analysis of records, simulation, or some combination of these? Are the method of data collection and research situation to be highly structured? Is an intensive study of a small sample more effective than a less intensive study of a large sample? Should the analysis be primarily qualitative or quantitative?"

Essential of Research Design

The above definition covers the essential of the Research design. It would be an activity and time based plan depending upon the research question. It would guide what types of information is to be collected and from what source. It would be a framework for specifying the relationship among the study's variables, Finally, the desisgn outlines procedures for every research activity.

This has been briefly described in the sketch on the left side.

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Types of investigation

Basically, there are three types of studies: (i) descriptive, (ii) correlational and (iii) causal.

Descriptive study just describes the situation. A bank manager may like to know how much loans were advanced and how much were recovered within the given time and how much were never recovered. Similarly, a cane manager of a sugar mill may like to study how much cane is available within a radius of 5 km, 10 km, 15 km and so on. In both case, actual figures are just being described or presented with percentages.

Correlational studies identify factors leading to a certain situation. For example, smoking, drinking and chewing tobacco maybe associated with cancer. While there is a link, one cannot establish a relationship between cancer and its causes: number of cigarette smoked, drinks taken and quantity of tobacco chewed.

Causal studies, on the other hand, bring up a definite cause and effect relationship. It isolates the variable that changes the dependent variable. For example, smoking causes weak lungs and not vice versa. Also to establish cause and effect relationship, it must be demonstrated that (i) both X & Y are co-varying, (ii) X (the independent) was preceding Y, a time lag, (iii) no other variable was possibly causing the change in Y and (d) when X is eliminated, Y is eliminated.

PURPOSE OF STUDY

The purpose ranges from pure research to problem oriented research. In the former, the researcher just wants to satisfy his or her curiosity. For example, a researcher is curious to know if there is a difference between work ethics of Japanese and American? Later such studies would be used for correlating the worth ethics with industrial advancement and innovation. Eventually, these would guide the policy maker in human resource planning and development.

Problem-oriented research are undertaken with a specific problem in mind. Education department may be considering increase the number of text books to increase knowledge of students. This maybe because of some previous finding that "the understanding of a subject showed improvement when number of books were increased."

The following table shows various studies and their purposes:

PURPOSE OF STUDY

 
EXPLORATORY
DESCRIPTIVE
CAUSAL
METHOD
Interviwing individuals, Basic Research, Extensive Survey 
Study of secondary data, Analysis, Correlation
Studying Relationship: Cause and Effect
EXAMPLES
Work ethics - Asian and American. Quality of Life Index, Investment Opportunities in a far off area
Cane Zone of a sugar mills, Aging of Loan defaults, LIFO Followers, Destruction of a city 
Advertising and Sales, Price and Demand, Whistle Blowers-more men than women 
INTERFERENCE 
None 
Minimum 
Excessive 
STUDY SETTING
Natural
Nature, Non-contrived, Field Studies
Artificial setting, contrived, Field experiment, Lab Experiment

Degree of Interference

A researcher may decided to keep his or her interference as minimum as possible. Events would be studied as they occur; data would be collected though a questionnaire and no changes made in the input or comments. But this would NOT be applicable for a causal studies where excessive interference or manipulation is called for to establish a cause and effect relationship. In order to find out effect of salary on the output, the researcher may ask the company to increase pay of employees of one department, lower the pay of employees of another department and leave the third department as it is. There maybe a change in output or may not be depending on the motivation of the employees.

Research Design

STUDY SETTING

Setting may be natural or artificial. In natural setting, field studies are conducted. For example, a bank manager may try to find out relationship between returns and bank deposits. For this purpose, various saving schemes of the banks would be studied to find out whether more returns attracted more deposits or motives of the depositors were other than returns like safety and liquidity. Similarly, researcher may observe wild life in their natural habitat though hidden cameras or field glasses.

Artificial environment are staged in lab or field experiments. There would be lot of manipulation and interferences. Lights maybe increased or decreased to observe their effect on productivity. Deliberate distractions maybe created for study of the loss of concentration.

A researcher may show inspirational films to students and note improvement in their attitude towards achievement. In a field experiment, sugar water may be placed at different distances from a bee nest to observe how the difference in distance affects the dance that bees do on returning home to communicate where the food is.

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UNIT OF ANALYSIS

Unit of analysis may be individuals, pairs or groups. When we are interested in knowing as to how many managers are interested in learning computers, we would be using individuals as a unit of analysis. In study of pairs or dyads, pilot will be studied along with co-pilot, trainer with trainee, doctor with nurse and driver with conductor etc. On still higher level, we may study clusters of a community, branches of a bank or residents of various localities which would fall under "groups" as unit of analysis.

TIME HORIZON

It may be cross sectional or longitudinal. In cross-sectional, data is collect only once. It is not necessarily gathered at the same time. It may take a longer period for example to find out from bank employees scattered all over the country their favored month for taking leave. Or one can ask men between the ages of 35-44 for choice of color of a shirt in a survey lasting for two weeks.

In Longitudinalstudies, data would be collected at several points of time say temperature of a patient in the morning and evening for three consecutive days etc. Similarly, one may like to note employee behavior before and after raise of pay or promotion. There are other examples like sales before and after advertisement, annual confidential reports of employees for the last five years etc.

What next : Experimental Design

RESEARCH DESIGN

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Comments 24 comments

Rufi Shahzada profile image

Rufi Shahzada 6 years ago from Karachi

Dear Sir,

The RESEARCH DESIGN is explained so well, I would suggest that you should opt for your own PUBLICATION regarding RESEARCH.

You got the complete material elaborated so well...

Your Portal is full of knowledge with diversified range of subjects!

A Million Thanks and Salutation to you!!!

Regards,

Rufi Shahzada


hafeezrm profile image

hafeezrm 6 years ago from Pakistan Author

Thanks Rufi for your contant following.


NNazir profile image

NNazir 6 years ago from Pakistan

Would I b correct if I say that Exploratory studies are qualitative in nature; on the other hand both descriptive and causal studies are quantitative?


hafeezrm profile image

hafeezrm 6 years ago from Pakistan Author

In a general sense you are right but there is no hard and fast rule. Exploratory studies could be quantitative and descriptive could be qualitative but as far as causal studies are concerned, the underlying information are first quantified and then analyzed.

Thanks for your visiting the hub.


Muhammad Shahbaz Rehman 6 years ago

Dear Sir,

Lots of thanks for sharing such knowledge for students...


Noluntu 5 years ago

Very clear and easy to undersatnd information, great work.

Thank you


Abdullah Qasim profile image

Abdullah Qasim 4 years ago from Multan

Bundle of thanks Sir for helping me.


hafeezrm profile image

hafeezrm 4 years ago from Pakistan Author

You are most welcome, dear Mr. Abdullah Qasim.


manpreet kaur pandher 4 years ago

Dear sir u r super,

The RESEARCH DESIGN is explained so well, I would suggest that you should opt for your own PUBLICATION regarding RESEARCH.

You got the complete material elaborated so well...

Your Portal is full of knowledge with diversified range of subjects!

A Million Thanks and Salutation to you!!!


manpreet kaur pandher 4 years ago

Dear sir u r super,

The RESEARCH DESIGN is explained so well, I would suggest that you should opt for your own PUBLICATION regarding RESEARCH.

You got the complete material elaborated so well...

Your Portal is full of knowledge with diversified range of subjects!

A Million Thanks and Salutation to you!!!


manpreet kaur pandher 4 years ago

sir according to me please sir u can publish a book plz


hafeezrm profile image

hafeezrm 4 years ago from Pakistan Author

Thanks Manpreet Kaur Pandher,

Thanks for your suggestion. Not a book, but I have own website in mind.


Dharm Pal 4 years ago

Dear Sir,

The topic "Research Design" is explained so well. Students can get esily....

Thanks a lot sir.


hafeezrm profile image

hafeezrm 4 years ago from Pakistan Author

Thanks Dharm Pal for your comments.


soniajain 4 years ago

u should also clear about process of formulation of researh design


hafeezrm profile image

hafeezrm 4 years ago from Pakistan Author

Thanks Soniajain for visiting my article. Please elaborate your question a little more.


TAHIR ABBAS 4 years ago

Respected Sir,

I need your help in this regard.

METASTATIC MICE SKIN TUMOR

Tahir Abbas Ph.D Student Punjab University Lahore Pakistan

Skin tumor in female mice is dominant as compared to male after or during lactation in old age. The weight of tumor is from 1.37g to 9.1g while the weight of tumeric animal is only 20g to 34g, 8-12% in female while in male it is only 1%. The number of tumors in one mouse varies from 1 to 4 at different locations like pectoral, pelvic, anal, mammary line, neck and lateral sides. After tumor animal survive for 65 days during such time the weight of mice decrease while the weight, length, and width of tumor increase. The average daily length of first tumor increases from 1.30mm to 3.66mm and width from 1.08mm to 3.13mm, the second tumor of same animal increases in length from 0.98mm to 2.27mm and in width from 0.89mm to 1.32mm while the third tumor from 0.82mm to 1.12mm in length and 0.88mm to 1.14mm per day. Mostly multiple tumors not appeared at same time, there is a gap of 5 to 14 days in second and third tumors of same animal. The size of tumor is 0.5mm to 4cm in length while width is 0.35mm to 3cm in recent studied tumors. The histological H-E staining indicate the clear metastastatic effect on lungs and enlarge spleen is also visible as compare to normal individuals of same colony upto eight generation within three years study.

NEED TO SUPPORT;

Respected Sir,

I need collaboration for further study of

i) Preserved specimens-tumors, animal internal organs like liver, lungs, kidney etc in bovine solutions, EDT, alcohol and in ice.

ii) If it is a new kind of tumor then there should be analysis of DNA,RNA and protein.

iii) There are about 50 samples need to be study not possible in my country.

iv) There are 100 alive animals of same colony with possible that gene or viral effect that may die in that climate where humans are living without electricity from 8-12 hours electricity fault.

v) I have about 200 pictures of that colony/tumors etc that should be published by the cooperation of someone.

vi) If my data have some aspects so it should be published with the support of competent co-author.

Tahir Abbas


avanz profile image

avanz 4 years ago from Sydney

good informative hub!


hafeezrm profile image

hafeezrm 4 years ago from Pakistan Author

Thanks Avanz for your comments.


amarich 4 years ago

I find your articles very useful and helpful and want to be a part of you so you can assist me in my Phd programm. Thank you and more grease.


hafeezrm profile image

hafeezrm 4 years ago from Pakistan Author

Thanks @Amarich for your valued comments.


Tahir Abbas 3 years ago

Good way to communicate


amaya 3 years ago

superb.....


EMMA 3 years ago

amazing it's really clear point for research study...

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