Perfect tips on creating a research design

Perfect tips on creating a research design

The research design refers to a structure that helps in initiating a research process and answering the research questions. A research design helps in making effective decisions regarding:

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  1. The type of information you need
  2. The place and time frame of the research
  3. The type of participants and references
  4. The process of collecting and interpreting data.
  5. Choice of variables and hypothesis

The design is an essential part of a project as it helps in scaling different project parameters and finalizing the kind of information to be included or not to be included in the research. It also helps in defining the factors that can help in evaluating your research outcome and conclusions. The accuracy and validity of your research directly depend on the way you have collected and interpreted your data.

The success of a research proposal and a complete dissertation thesis is highly influenced by a strong research design.

Step 1: Priorities and applicability

It differs from one research problem to another, and there is a wide range of methods that one can choose from. The choice of your research design depends on the intended research outcome and often involves opportunity cost. It means that a strong design in one study area might not be the same in another.


  1. A qualitative research design such as a case study assists in gaining an in-depth knowledge of a study; however, it fails to generalize the outcome to a wider population.
  2. An experiment design in the laboratory help in answering a cause and effect question with high accuracy; however, it may fail to present the way things work in reality.

A research design should also be chosen based on practical analysis and scientific consideration.

  1. What is the duration you need to collect and analyze the data and write the research?
  2. What are the chances you have to access the required data?
  3. Is there adequate research expertise in you?

The research questions have to be refined in case you find that the kind of research chosen to answer your present research question is not practically possible.

Step 2: Plan the type of data required

The problem statement and the research questions help in giving you an idea of the type of research you need to implement. There are two types of choices, primary and secondary data, that you can make for your research.

Comparison: Primary and Secondary Data


Primary Secondary
This kind of data is directly collected from the source with the help of interviews, experiments, and surveys. This kind of data is collected from past research outcomes acquired by other researchers. (Example: online databases, publications, scholarly journals, and others)
Such kind of data helps in making the research look more authentic; however, it largely depends on the accessibility and interests of the participants. Such data can be collected within a limited duration to help in improving the research scope, however, the researcher loses control over the authenticity of the data.

Comparison: Qualitative and Quantitative Data

Qualitative Quantitative
Qualitative research is chosen when the research question aims at describing a subjective experience, understanding theoretical concepts, and interpreting meanings. Quantitative research is chosen when the research question aims at finding correlations, testing hypotheses, and mapping variables.
Such research is much more flexible and allows the researcher to adjust their approach throughout the research process Such research design is less flexible, as the variables and methods are planned in advance of data collection.

A research design can be formed by combining primary and secondary data and using mixed methods such as both qualitative and quantitative

Step 3: Data collection Process in Research

Once the design is chosen, it is time for you to plan how, where, and when you want to collect the data.

Research Methodology

Methods Considerations
  • What should be the sample size and sample method for the research (simple random sampling, stratified sampling, or systematic sampling)
  • What should be the way of distributing a survey?
  • What are the methods you will use to design a survey questionnaire? (open or close-ended questions)
  • How will you choose your interviewees?
  • Time and location of the interview?
  • What will be the method for the interview? (structured, semi-structured, or unstructured)
  • Will the experiment be implemented in a laboratory or a field setting?
  • What are the ways to measure and manage the variables?
  • What are the ways to design the experiment?
Secondary Data
  • What are the channels to derive secondary sources?
  • What are the factors considered while selecting the sources?

Step 4: Decide the Ways to Analyze Data

To provide an answer to your research questions, you will have to interpret your collected data. The data analysis process is the final step that you should consider while planning your research design.

Quantitative data analysis

Numerical data in research are interpreted with the help of statistical methods that use various software applications like excel, SPSS, or SAS.

Statistical instruments help in conducting analysis using various methods such as averages, patterns, correlations, and frequencies. When designing your research, you should precisely state your variables and hypothesis, showing the connection between them. The hypothesis can further be tested using an appropriate statistical method.

Qualitative Data Analysis

Qualitative data is analyzed using a much more flexible process and involves subjective judgments of the researcher. The major focus in such analysis is to identify and form key themes, interpret trends and descriptions, and understand the social meaning.

When finalizing your design for research, it is important to consider the approach that you will implement while interpreting the data. The main themes of the analysis are identified and formed after the data has been collected; however, you need to plan what you intend to achieve from the analysis.

For example, are you planning to describe the participants’ perceptions and experiences, or do you intend to interpret the definition of the responses in relation to the social setting? Will you focus only on the responses or on a detailed implication of the responses?

Step 5: Finalize your research proposal

The research design is an integral part of your research proposal. It helps describe your plan to conduct your investigation and shows your supervisor that the thesis is practically acceptable and efficient to answer your research problem/questions accurately.

Frequently Asked Questions on Research Design

What are the four types of research design?

The four types of designs usually used to answer a research question are exploratory research, descriptive research, explanatory research, and evaluation research.

What are the different types of research questions?

There are three categories of research questions such as descriptive, comparative, and casual types.

Can two types of analysis methods be used in one research design?

One research study may employ multiple methods such as two quantitative methods, two qualitative methods, or a mixed-method (one quantitative and one qualitative).

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