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Dissertation Research Design

A research design is a structure that combines different components of research. It involves the use of different data collection and data analysis techniques logically to answer the research questions.

It would be best if you made some decisions about addressing the research questions adequately before starting the research process, and this is achieved with the help of the research design. Below are the key aspects of the decision-making process:

  • Data type required for research
  • Research resources
  • Participants required for research
  • Hypothesis based upon research question(s)
  • Data analysis methodologies
  • Variables (Independent, dependent, and confounding)
  • The location and timescale for conducting the data
  • The time period required for research

The research design provides the strategy of investigation for your project. Furthermore, it defines the parameters and criteria to compile the data to evaluate results and draw a conclusion.

Your project's validity depends on the data collection and interpretation techniques. A strong research design reflects a strong dissertation, scientific paper, or research proposal.

The research design can be divided into five broad categories; descriptive, experimental, correlational, diagnostic, and explanatory.

Step 1: Establish Priorities for Research Design

An important question that you must address before conducting any research study is "how to create a research design."

The research design depends on the researcher's priorities and choices because every research has different priorities. For a complex research study involving multiple research methods, you may choose to have more than one research design.

Multimethodology or multimethod research includes using more than one method of data collection or research in a research study or set of related studies.

If one research design is weak in one area, then another research design can cover that weakness. For instance, a dissertation analysing different situations or cases will have more than one research design.

For example:

  • Experimental research involves experimental investigation and laboratory experience, but it does not accurately investigate the real world.
  • Quantitative research is good for the statistical part of the project, but it may not provide an in-depth understanding of the topic.
  • Also, correlational research will not provide experimental results because it is a technique that assesses the statistical relationship between two variables.

While scientific considerations are a fundamental aspect of the research design, It is equally important that the researcher think practically before deciding on their research design structure. Here are some questions that you should think of;

If you think that the chosen research design cannot answer the research questions properly, you can refine your research questions to gain better insight.

Step 2: Data Type You Need for Research

Decide on the type of data you need for your research. The type of data you need to collect depends on your research questions or research hypothesis. Two types of research data can be used to answer the research questions:

Primary Data Vs. Secondary Data

Primary Data
The researcher collects the primary data from first-hand sources with the help of different data collection methods such as interviews, experiments, surveys, etc. Primary research data is considered far more authentic and relevant, but it involves additional cost and time.
Secondary Data
Research on academic references which themselves incorporate primary data will be regarded as secondary data. There is no need to do a survey or interview with a person directly, and it is time effective. The researcher should focus on the validity and reliability of the source.

Qualitative Vs. Quantitative Data

Qualitative Data
This type of data encircles the researcher's descriptive experience and shows the relationship between the observation and collected data. It involves interpretation and conceptual understanding of the research. There are many theories involved which can approve or disapprove the mathematical and statistical calculation. For instance, you are searching how to write a research design proposal, it means you require qualitative data about the mentioned topic.
Quantitative Data
If your research requires statistical and mathematical approaches for measuring the variable and testing your hypothesis, your objective is to compile quantitative data. Many businesses and researchers use this type of data for their research design with pre-determined data collection methods and variables.

Also see; Research methods, design, and analysis.

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Step 3: Data Collection Techniques

Once you have selected the type of research to be employed to answer your research question,  you need to decide where and how you will collect the data.

It is time to determine your research method to address the research problem. Research methods involve procedures, techniques, materials, and tools used for the study.

For instance, a dissertation research design includes the different resources and data collection techniques and helps establish your dissertation's structure.

The following table shows the characteristics of the most popularly employed research methods.

Research Methods

Methods

What to consider

Surveys

The survey planning requires;
Selection of responses and how many responses are required for the research?

Survey distribution techniques (online, by post, in person, etc.)

Techniques to design the question

Interviews

Criteria to select the interviewee.

Time and location of the interview.

Type of interviews; i.e., structured, semi-structured, or unstructured.

Experiments

Place of the experiment; laboratory or in the field.

Measuring of the variables

Design of the experiment

Secondary Data

Criteria to select the references and source for the data.

The reliability of the references.

The technique used for compiling the data source.

Step 4: Procedure of Data Analysis

Use of the correct data and statistical analysis technique is necessary for the validity of your research. Therefore, you need to be certain about the type of data that would best address the research problem. Choosing an appropriate analysis method is the final step for the research design. It can be split into two main categories;

Quantitative Data Analysis

The quantitative data analysis technique involves analysing the numerical data with the help of different applications such as; SPSS, STATA, Excel, origin lab, etc.

This data analysis strategy tests different types of variables such as spectrum, frequencies, averages, and more. The research question and the hypothesis must be clearly established to identify the variables for testing.

Qualitative Data Analysis

Qualitative data analysis of figures, themes, and words allows for flexibility and the researcher's subjective opinions. This means that the researcher's primary focus will be on interpreting patterns, tendencies, and accounts and understanding the implications and social framework.

You should be clear about your research objectives before starting to analyse the data. For example, you should ask yourself whether you need to explain respondents' experiences and insights or do you also need to evaluate their responses with reference to a certain social framework.

Step 5: Write your Research Proposal

The research design is an important component of a research proposal because it provides the planning about the project's execution, which you can share with the supervisor, who would evaluate the feasibility and capacity of the results and conclusion.

Read our guidelines to write a research proposal if you have already formulated your research design. The research proposal is written in the future tense because you are writing your proposal before conducting research.

The research methodology or research design, on the other hand, is generally written in the past tense.

How to Write a Research Design - Conclusion

A research design is the plan, structure, strategy of investigation conceived to obtain an answer to the research question and test the hypothesis. The dissertation research design can be classified based on the type of data and the type of analysis.

Above mentioned five steps are the answer to how to write a research design. So, follow these steps to formulate the perfect research design for your dissertation.

Research Prospect writers have years of experience in creating research designs that are in line with the dissertation's aim and objectives. If you are struggling with your dissertation methodology chapter, you might want to look at our dissertation part writing service.

Our dissertation writers are also able to help you with the full dissertation paper. No matter how urgent or complex you need may be, Research Prospect can help.

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Anastasia Lois

Lois is an academic writer and editor who previously worked as a college teacher. A writer by day and a reader by night, he is loathe to discuss himself in the third person, but can be persuaded to do so from time to time.

Anastasia Lois
Anastasia Lois
Lois is an academic writer and editor who previously worked as a college teacher. A writer by day and a reader by night, he is loathe to discuss himself in the third person, but can be persuaded to do so from time to time.
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