How to Write a Research Design – Guide with Examples
Published byat August 14th, 2021 , Revised On October 3, 2023
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 to make some decisions about addressing the research questions adequately before starting the research process, which 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 conclude.
Step 1: Establish Priorities for Research Design
Before conducting any research study, you must address an important question: “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 methods, you may choose to have more than one research design.
Multimethodology or multimethod research includes using more than one data collection method 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 analyzing different situations or cases will have more than one research design.
- 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 its structure. Here are some questions that you should think of;
- Do you have enough time to gather data and complete the write-up?
- Will you be able to collect the necessary data by interviewing a specific person or visiting a specific location?
- Do you have in-depth knowledge about the different statistical analysis and data collection techniques to address the research questions or test the hypothesis?
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
|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.
|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
|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.
|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 with pre-determined data collection methods and variables for their research design.
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Step 3: Data Collection Techniques
Once you have selected the type of research to answer your research question, you need to decide where and how to 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.
|What to consider
|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
|Criteria to select the interviewee.
Time and location of the interview.
Type of interviews; i.e., structured, semi-structured, or unstructured
|Place of the experiment; laboratory or in the field.
Measuring of the variables
Design of the experiment
|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 data type 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 analyzing the numerical data with the help of different applications such as; SPSS, STATA, Excel, origin lab, etc.
This data analysis strategy tests different variables such as spectrum, frequencies, averages, and more. The research question and the hypothesis must be 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 interpreting patterns, tendencies, and accounts and understanding the implications and social framework.
You should be clear about your research objectives before starting to analyze 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 plans the project’s execution. You can share it 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 answer 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.
Our dissertation writers can also help you with the full dissertation paper. No matter how urgent or complex your need may be, ResearchProspect can help. We also offer PhD level research paper writing services.
Frequently Asked Questions
Research design is a systematic plan that guides the research process, outlining the methodology and procedures for collecting and analysing data. It determines the structure of the study, ensuring the research question is answered effectively, reliably, and validly. It serves as the blueprint for the entire research project.
To write a research design, define your research question, identify the research method (qualitative, quantitative, or mixed), choose data collection techniques (e.g., surveys, interviews), determine the sample size and sampling method, outline data analysis procedures, and highlight potential limitations and ethical considerations for the study.
In the design section of a research paper, describe the research methodology chosen and justify its selection. Outline the data collection methods, participants or samples, instruments used, and procedures followed. Detail any experimental controls, if applicable. Ensure clarity and precision to enable replication of the study by other researchers.
To write a research design in methodology, clearly outline the research strategy (e.g., experimental, survey, case study). Describe the sampling technique, participants, and data collection methods. Detail the procedures for data collection and analysis. Justify choices by linking them to research objectives, addressing reliability and validity.