Understanding Research: The Types of Research Design

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Everything that we enjoy today is the result of years of meticulous research and development. From generating weather reports to the use of artificial intelligence-based techniques for a better gaming experience, research is a part of everything around us. There is always room for acquiring more knowledge, and developing skills, both of which are possible through quality research.

But to carry out research, we must first try to understand what research is and the different steps involved in the process.

What is research?

Explaining what research is in simple terms is not an easy task. The essence of research is something that varies from person to person. For one, it may be related to identifying a particular product that they have been reading up about online and for another, it may be the invention of cutting-edge technology after years of study and experimentation. Generally, it is defined as the systematic study of problems using scientific methods in order to come up with solutions. But not all solutions are easily accepted by all. Every research needs to be reviewed by peers and corroborated by factual evidence.

Research is the creation of knowledge or the use of existing knowledge to create new methodologies, concepts, and solutions to problems or questions that we may have. The first thought that comes to mind when we speak about research is a person hunched over hundreds of books or sitting in a laboratory mixing chemicals while jotting down complex mathematical equations on a whiteboard. Although such scenes are true in some cases, research isn’t necessarily this alone. It involves a lot of data collection, communication, reading, writing, taking notes or even developing abstract ideas for later use.

Why is it important?

The impact of research is multifaceted and wide-ranging. These include cultural, socio-economical, technological, environmental, legal, and health-related. The knowledge generated by research across different fields contributes positively. It also helps one to stay updated about the latest developments in a particular field.

A person’s cognitive dissonance shows when they lack interest in research of any kind. Research helps to improve the way academicians teach, increases the amount of knowledge about a particular subject, increases credibility, introduces new ideas, aids organizations in making informed business decisions and in creating an environment where they can thrive, improves the environment around us, and even helps to create an impact on society through innovations that everyone can benefit from.

What are the types of research design?

Before we delve into what research design is, we must first understand the different methods of research and the characteristics associated with research. Most research methods are categorized into quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative research methods focus on collecting numerical data and analyzing it using statistical tools and methods. Data is often collected through surveys, correlational research, experimentation, controlled observations, and interviews. It is often used in fields such as engineering, physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology, finance, and medical research. Qualitative research methods are those that do not require numerical data for analysis. It generally depends on data collected through interviews, texts, focus groups, ethnographic studies, and case studies. It is generally used by researchers in the fields of literature, media studies, journalism, social sciences, and psychology. Research needs to be empirical – meaning, it should be supported by observations or data, analytical, logical, controlled, and objective-oriented. These characteristics ensure that it achieves the standard that is associated with quality research.

Research design is the term used to describe the overall strategies involved in a particular research. It establishes a plan to consolidate research through the collection, interpretation, and analysis of data. Research design’s basic purpose is to make sure that the data collected by one can be utilized to its fullest extent in order to address the research problem being examined. Some of the most popular research designs are discussed below.

  • Descriptive research designAs the name suggests, descriptive research design is a type of research where a research topic is described. Generally, descriptive research helps the researcher to understand the research topic better by trying to answer various questions about the research problem.
  • Exploratory research designExploratory research design is generally followed by those researchers who do not have a clear-cut research problem or are trying to figure out research gaps as they progress. Exploratory research tries to understand a research problem that has not been previously explored by other researchers. It is useful when one is trying to gain background information about a particular problem or topic.
  • Observational research designObservational research is a research format where the subjects are compared to a control group. Researchers will not intervene or try to alter the behavior of subjects and will merely observe them. This type of research is used to collect detailed information about the way subjects behave in different situations through observations.
  • Review design Review design is a process where the existing literature related to a particular problem is reviewed in detail to come up with different conclusions. Most review research designs try to analyze data available from existing research in order to either support or reject a hypothesis.
  • Action research designThis type of research design involves the adoption of an exploratory stance and using it to develop an action strategy. It is a cyclic process where observations are collected as the action strategy is deployed and the whole process is repeated until the problem’s nature has been sufficiently understood. Action research design has direct relevance to experience and is generally iterative in nature.

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