research design
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UPDATED! 11 Research Design Types and their usefulness

What is research design?

To document all the research work there is a proper format in which it is done. Research design makes it easy for the researcher to document all their work by combining different components of their research in a structured and organized manner.

It acts as both the blueprint for the research work and the detailed study of the same by documenting all the evidence and data to back up the result that has been concluded by the researcher in his research work.

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Research design types

Reading and understanding what this means can seem to be very easy and yes it is but there are many research designs that are developed over a period of time. These can be understood as a set way of structure and organization in which one can document its research work. Let’s look at some of the commonly used research designs.

Action research design

This is usually used by researchers who aim to provide a solution to a problem statement rather than testing some theories or principles and backing them up using evidence. These research design works are considered to be more practical in nature as the conclusions drawn from these research works have relevance to functioning in the real world.

Case study research design

This type of work is usually used to focus on one problem statement and break it down into smaller problem statements to develop an in-depth contextual analysis for a complex problem statement.

Causal research design

This particular type of work is majorly used by researchers who are keen to understand an already existing theory, principle, or phenomenon. The researchers using causal research design try to understand the impact of a certain change if one of the base factors of the existing theory, principle, or phenomenon is disturbed.

Cohort research design

This is usually used by researchers in practical fields like applied social science or medical science and like. This specific design is built in such a manner that it accommodates the data collection and observation of the same over a period of time in different cohorts. This can be further classified into two parts – open cohort and closed-cohort research.

Descriptive research design

This is built in such a manner that has a problem statement for the research and looks forward to answering the questions like ‘who?’, ‘what?’, ‘when?’, ‘where?’ and ‘how?’ for the problem statement.

Explanatory research design

This is usually taken up by researchers who are trying to provide an initial understanding or explanation for a new theory, principle, or phenomenon. This particular design is built to facilitate any new understanding for which prior only a little or no research has been conducted.

Historical research design

This is mostly used when the researcher wants to verify an existing trend using historic data. In this kind of research work, the conclusion for the already existing research does not change. The research work under this either proves the hypothesis taken by the researcher true or false.

Longitudinal research design

This is developed in such a manner that it includes the observation of the same set of test samples over a period of time. The timing for repeated testing can differ based on the question that the researcher is trying to find an answer to.

Observational research design

This is used when the researcher tests the samples with the control group at the same time rather than observing the test samples in different time frames as that in the longitudinal research work.

Philosophical research design

This is used by researchers who seek to find answers for the intractable area of study, often surrounding the nature of reality, the nature of knowledge, or the study of values of any kind.

Sequential research design

This is usually used to document the research work that is done in multiple stages where each stage completion acts as a building block for the next stage of research.

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Elements of research design

Apart from the various types of research design that exist in the real world, there are multiple elements that are common in all kinds of research work that are being done all around the globe.

Many budding researchers, especially academics, are not aware of the various type of research designs that exist but they are knowingly or unknowingly aware of the elements of the research.

The reason is that without these elements, there will not exist an organized and structural way of documenting a research work. Let’s dive in and look at the various elements.

  1. Objective or statement of purpose for which you are conducting the research
  2. The method of data collection and analysis of the same 
  3. The accurate problem statement that you are trying to find answers to in your research
  4. Type of research methodology that you will be using throughout your research work
  5. A set period or timeline for your research as well as data collection
  6. Any limitations or objections in your research work
  7. A clear marked-out way for analyzing the collected data or information
  8. A setting for your research study


How do you write a research design?

This is not a topic or a particular aspect that needs to be jotted down in your research work. Rather, it’s a format one needs to follow, as per their research topic and work, to have a clean and organized research work.

What is a good research design?

There is no good or bad research design per se but what matters is that the type of research work you are doing should follow a particular formatting or design to make your work look more understandable.

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