Design Strategies for Research Methodologies
The research process is a multi-step process which involves selecting a topic, selecting a research question, choosing appropriate research techniques, observation, data analysis, and interpretation of results. Design strategy is a way through which firms decide which research method to use to integrate business objectives and mitigate the risk. Research design and methods are both shaped by the research question. While research method is the technique which is used for gathering and analyzing data needed to answer the research question, research design is a detailed plan that addresses the different steps of the research process. Research design is a plan of action and a rationale that:
* Identifies what is the research question which is to be answered * Explains the importance of research question
* Describes how previous work have answered the research question * Defines key concepts as have been defined by others and how they would be defined in the current research * Describes how the research question would be answered, what evidence would be needed, how it would be gathered and how it would be analyzed There are two basic types of research methodologies-quantitative and qualitative. Qualitative research method uses a naturalistic approach that seeks to understand a phenomenon in a context-specific setting.
A quantitative method is based on experimental methods and quantitative measures to test hypothetical generalizations. There is a third method which is a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods and is called mixed method. Research design is different from the research method. It is not a data collection tool but a logical structure of inquiry. Failure to distinguish between research method and research design leads to poor evaluation of designs. Strategies of Inquiry
The table below provides an overview of different strategies of inquiry used in different research methods: Quantitative| Qualitative| Mixed Methods| * Experimental designs * Non-experimental designs, such as surveys| * Narratives * Phenomenology * Ethnography * Grounded theory * Case studies| * Sequential * Concurrent * Transformative|
Research designs are often equated with qualitative and quantitative research methods. While experiments are seen as prime example of quantitative research, case studies are taken as example of qualitative research as it adopts an interpretive approach to data. Other design approaches are: Design strategies for Quantitative Research Method
For quantitative research methodology research can be designed using following approaches: * Experimental Design: It is a systematic and scientific approach to research in which researcher manipulates one or more variables, and controls and measures any changes in other variables (Experimental research, n.d). It is used in designing quantitative research as the basic objective of the research is to provide answer to research question in a quantitative way which is backed by data. The experimental design uses variables which ask researcher for input and other variables which provide data which is to be used for analyzing results. * Non-Experimental design: This is in contrast to the experimental design and is not based on a systematic and scientific approach. It rather uses surveys in the form of questionnaires or structured interviews with the intent of generalizing from sample to a population. Design strategies for Quantitative Research Method
* Cross-sectional design: This design focuses on collecting information on a large number of cases at a single point in time. The goal of the design is to gather data on a number of variables to discover if there exists a pattern of association between them. Cross sectional research is focused on finding relationships between variables at a specific point in time. * Longitudinal design: It involves collection of information at several points in time aimed to identify and explain change. For example, panel study is a longitudinal design where a sample is interviewed at several points in time. Cohort study is another example where different groups are studied and compared. * Case Study design: In this design approach researchers focus on and study in depth a single case. Case study can generate a large database which invites inter-disciplinary approaches and allows for methodological promiscuity.
Good research design facilitates anticipation of competing explanations before collection of data so that relevant information for evaluating the relative merits of competing explanations is obtained. The main purpose of the research design is to ensure that researcher has enough evidence to answer the research question with as little ambiguity as possible. The evidence entails specifying the type of evidence needed to answer the research question, to test a theory, to evaluate a programme, or to accurately describe a phenomenon (What is research…, n.d). The research design is concerned with the logical design of the research process which leads to a work plan for execution. Without proper designing, conclusions which would be drawn would be generally weak and unconvincing and would not answer the research question with full confidence. Hence it is important to work on the design before beginning the research process if the researcher wants success with the task.
1. What is research design. (n.d). Retrieved from http://www.nyu.edu/classes/bkg/methods/005847ch1.pdf 2. Galt, Kimberly A. (Aug, 2009). Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Approaches to Research and Inquiry. Retrieved from http://spahp2.creighton.edu/OfficeOfResearch/share/sharedfiles/UserFiles/file/Galt_SPAHP_Methods_Presentation_082609.pdf 3. Experimental research. (n.d). Retrieved from http://www.experiment-resources.com/experimental-research.html 4. Research design. (Jan, 2008). Retrieved from http://www.arts.ualberta.ca/~ltrimble/Research%20Design,%2018%20Jan.pdf