The fundamentals of research design

The fundamentals of research design

The first and the foremost part of beginning your paper is to decide how you plan your research design. The research design is the overall strategy that you choose in order to address the research problem. It is also notable that your research determines the type of design you should use.

Before moving to the basics of research design, common problems should be considered to avoid when designing a research study.

  • Lack of specificity

The main parts being discussed by the authors should not be described with over-broad generalities (extremely, very, entirely, completely, etc.). The author should use clear and concise terms that describe the exact or the measured results. Otherwise,   the reader may come to misunderstanding of the author’s intentions.

  • Research problem issues

Some authors fail to define research problem. This leads them to choose the wrong research design and the investigation fails to meet adequate research results. Quality of the answers are also related to the degree of definition of the problem. If problems are well defined, the problem-solving process is effective.

  • Lack of Theoretical Framework (broadly explained in further sections)

This part is the conceptual foundation for the study. Research problem should be clearly defined, and research design is adequately chosen in order to build theoretical background for the study. This section should demonstrate a clear understanding of the concepts and theories applicable to the study. The selection of theories

  • Significance of the study

Author (researcher) should clearly answer to the question “So what?” when it comes to describe the importance of the study. This question tests the adequateness of the importance of the research field that is being investigated.

  • Contribution

When you discuss the prior research as having a research gap and your contribution to fill this gap, do not generalize the statement, but be specific and clear about your contribution in filling prior research gaps.

  • Objectives, Hypotheses, or Questions

Research design should involve one or more questions or hypotheses that you are trying to answer about the research problem of your choice. Moreover, there is no strict rule regarding the number of questions or hypotheses to list, but it is a usual practice in social sciences to list them 1 to 5.

  • Methodological approach

This section is planning included in the research design on how to collect and generate data and how it will be analyzed. Researcher should ensure that the data collection and data analysis methods are adequately chosen in order to address the research problem effectively.

  • Research Instruments

Research instrument or technique is a measuring part of a research writing (survey, test, questionnaire, observation, lab study, etc.). It also defines the term of data collection by specific techniques included in brackets above. Research instruments should be chosen and applied strategically to meet the effective research results and discussions.

  • Statistical treatment

Collected data and information (mainly in quantitative research approach) is organized and described by statistics (mean, median and mode). It leads to meaningful interpretation of data in quantitative and mixed method approaches. Several applications are used while working with statistics including STATA – Software for Statistics and Data Science, IBM SPSS – IBM Analytics, EViews – Econometric modeling and Analysis Software, and others.

  • Vocabulary usage

In most cases in research, it is recommended to avoid technical and pseudo-technical terminology that is challenging to understand for masses, however, research has its jargon and terminology widely used and easily understood by readers and clients. Primarily, the author/researcher should concentrate on academic language and avoid using cultural-based terminology that is only defined by specific segments.

  • Ethical issues

While collecting data or when using specific research, some researchers may unintentionally break research ethics that may bring conflict of interest of organizations, or individuals. Research ethics is defined as moral principles that should be followed while conducting research activities.  Respect for anonymity, for confidentiality, for privacy are few of research ethics.

  • Research/Study Limitations

All research studies have limitations and it is a usual practice to define and describe them in the research report. Study should also explain why defined limitations exist and what impact they have on validity of the study.