What is Research Design?
A research design is the arrangement
of conditions for collection and
analysis of data in a manner that aims
to combine relevance to the research
purpose with economy in procedure.
Research Design Constitutes Decisions
What, Where, When, How, How much
• A research design is the framework
or plan for a study used as a guide in
collecting and analyzing data.
Need for Research Design:
• It facilitates the smooth flow of
various research processes.
• It would result in more accurate
results with minimum usage of time,
effort and money
Types of Research Designs:
There are three basic types of
• The goal of exploratory research is to
discover ideas and insights.
• Descriptive research is usually concerned
with describing a population with respect
to important variables.
• Causal research is used to establish
cause-and-effect relationships between
1 What is going on (descriptive research)?
2 Why is it going on (exploratory research)?
• Exploratory research is most commonly
unstructured, “informal” research that
is undertaken to gain background
information about the general nature
of the research problem.
• Exploratory research is usually
conducted when the researcher does
not know much about the problem and
needs additional information or desires
new or more recent information.
• Exploratory research is conducted to provide a
better understanding of a situation. It isn’t
designed to come up with final answers or
Through exploratory research, researchers hope
to produce hypotheses about what is going on
in a situation.
• Exploration is particularly useful when researches
lack a clear idea of the problems they will meet
during the study.
• Through exploration the researchers develop
concepts more clearly, establish priorities,
develop operational definitions, and improve the
final research design.
• Exploratory research (sometimes referred to as
qualitative research) shouldn’t be expected to
provide answers to the decision problem that you
are attempting to solve for a client. It can
provide very rich, meaningful information—or even
definitive explanations—for particular individuals
(“I hate the old-fashioned styling of that car;
that’s why I won’t buy one”), but exploratory
research doesn’t provide definitive answers for
the overall population.
• There are two reasons for this:
(1) Exploratory research usually involves
only a relatively small group of people,
(2) these people are almost never
randomly selected to participate.
Exploratory Design: Contd…
• Exploratory research is used in a
number of situations:
gain background information
clarify problems and hypotheses
establish research priorities
Exploratory Design: Contd…
A variety of methods are available to
conduct exploratory research:
• Secondary Data Analysis
• Experience Surveys/Depth Interviews
• Case Analysis
• Focus Groups
• Descriptive research is undertaken to
provide answers to questions of who, what,
where, when, and how – but not why.
• It is a research design in which the major
emphasis is on determining the frequency
with which something occurs or the extent
to which two variables cover.
• Descriptive research assumes that the
researcher has much prior knowledge
about the problem situation. In fact, a
major difference between exploratory and
descriptive research is that descriptive
research is characterized by prior
formulation of specific hypotheses. Thus
the information needed is clearly defined.
As a result, descriptive research is pre
planned and structured
• Descriptive research in contrast to
exploratory research is marked by a clear
statement of the problem, specific
hypotheses, and detailed information
• A descriptive design requires a clear
specification of the who, what, when,
where, why, and way (the six Ws) of the
we use descriptive research for
the following purposes:
1. Major objective is to describe some thing
usually market characteristics or functions
2. To describe the characteristics of certain
3. To determine the proportion of people who
behave in a certain way.
4. To make specific predictions
5. To determine relationships between
• Typically, a cross-sectional study
involves drawing a sample of elements
from the population of interest.
Characteristics of the elements, or
sample members, are measured only once.
• A longitudinal study, on the other
hand, involves a panel, which is a fixed
sample of elements.
The elements may be stores, dealers,
individuals, or other entities.
• The study of change over time is called longitudinal
analysis. In this sense, longitudinal studies involve
the study of a process of change over a period of
time. Such trends can also be observed by comparing
the results of surveys that are conducted in
separate years. The aim of this paper is to point out
the importance of conducting longitudinal surveys
for a variety of situations, and the importance of
applying the correct statistical techniques for data
obtained from longitudinal surveys.
• Longitudinal studies repeatedly draw
sample units of a population over time.
• One method is to draw different units
from the same sampling frame.
• A second method is to use a “panel” where
the same people are asked to respond
• On-line survey research firms recruit
panel members to respond to online
There are two types of panels:
A fixed sample of
time with respect
to the same
A fixed sample of
respondents who are
over time, but on
variables that change
• Cross-sectional studies measure units from
a sample of the population at only one point
• Sample surveys are cross-sectional studies
whose samples are drawn in such a way as to
be representative of a specific population.
• On-line survey research is being used to
collect data for cross-sectional surveys at a
faster rate of speed.
• Cross-sectional surveys often provide data
that reveal little change from one year to
the next. This can be seen especially, when
we consider figures on unemployment or
characteristics of poor households
receiving Samurdhi-benefits – implying
that the same households remain poor over
• Cross-sectional study in which the sample
is selected to be representative of the
target population and in which the
emphasis is on the generation of summary
statistics such as averages and
a cross-sectional study involves drawing a
sample of elements from the population of
interest. Because a great deal of emphasis is
placed on selecting sample members,
preferably with a probability sampling plan,
the technique is often called a sample survey.
A sample survey offers a couple of big advantages over
panel designs. For one thing, you can target very
specific populations. Targeted recruitment is possible
with consumer panels, but only using the data that have
been collected about the participating individuals or
households. Here’s a second big advantage of sample
surveys: If you use a probability sampling plan, the
results from the sample can be projected to the overall
population. (Managers care more about populations than
they do samples.) On the downside, survey research is
expensive. It takes lots of time, energy, and money to
successfully collect and analyze survey data. And unless
you have the technical skills required for each aspect
of the process, you’ll have to hire others to help, adding
to the overall cost of the project.