Research design or proposal aims at studying a scientific problem in a systematic way. The study type (descriptive, correlational, semi-experimental, experimental, review, meta-analytic) is defined by the design of the study.
Research designs and proposals inform the readers what they want to learn, why knowing a thing is good, and, most importantly, how they go ahead with the process of acquiring knowledge about the topic. The research designs mainly differ depending on their audiences.
An effective research design/proposal should have the following important elements :
1. Introduction : This part deals with the key element of study and its importance. A key feature of this section will be the research question. Here ,one can use words which show how to go about conducting the study.
2. Review of the literature: Here, we review what we already know about the subject and how our study would add to it. The review will also often talk about the methods used by previous research on the subject.
3. Methods : This of course, forms the heart of the matter. This shows a plan of work for learning what you want to know about your subject. It must cover :
• where you’ll get your evidence,
• how you’ll gather it
• how much of it you need, and
• how you’ll analyze it after gathering it. It should be sufficient in the sense that it has enough details that you (or someone else) really could use your plan to guide the research activities.
Design types and sub-types
There are different ways of classifying research designs. The list below covers most of the research designs and explains the distinction between them with the help of examples.
• Descriptive (can be case-study, naturalistic observation, Survey)
• Correlational (can be case-control study, observational study)
• Semi-experimental (can be field experiment, quasi-experiment)
• Experimental (Experiment with random assignment)
• Review (Literature review, Systematic review)
• Meta-analytic (Meta-analysis)
Nature of a Good Design :
The following elements form the characteristics of a good research design :
1. Theory – grounded