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VARIOUS COMPONENTS OF RESEARCH DESIGN

Introduction
A Research Design is the 'blue print' of the study and is infact a catalogue of the various
phases and facts relating to the formulating of a research effort. It is an arrangement of the
essential conditions for the collection and analysis of data in a form that aims to combine
relevance to the research purpose with economy in the procedure.1 It is the framework that has
been created to seek answers to research questions.2
The task of defining the research problem is the preparation of the research project and is
known as the Research Design . Discussion regarding what, where, when, how much, by what
means concerning an enquiry or a research study constitute a Research Design.
To go into the intricacies and components of Research Design, it is important to understand
the relationship between 'Research' and 'Research Design'. As per Redman and Mory,
Research is a ''systemized method to gain new knowledge.''3 According to PV Young, Research
Design is the ''logical and systematical designing of a piece of research''.4 Research Design
therefore 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.It is the
conceptual structure within which research is conducted for collection, measurement and
analysis of data.
Research Methods and Research Design
Before we discuss the components of Research Design , it is equally important to understand
the difference and relationship between these two terms. For those pursuing research in any
field of study, an awareness of Research Methods and Research Design is vital. There are
many Research Methods that provide a loose framework or guidelines to conduct a research
project. One has to choose a method that suits the requirements of the project, and the

1
Gupta,Santosh, Research Methodology and Statistical Techniques,
Deep and Deep Publications, New Delhi , 1993,p94
2
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Research_design accessed on 09
November 2015
3
.Redman, L.V, and Mory,A.V.H The Romance of Research,1923,p10
4
Young,P V, Scientific Social Survey & Research, Asia Publication
House, Bombay, p44

researcher is comfortable with. On the other hand, the Research Design is the specific
framework within which a project is pursued and completed. Many remain confused about the
differences between research methods and Research Design. Research Methods focus mainly
on data collection, but the Research Design provides an overall picture of the entire research
project.
A Research Method refers to the techniques that the researcher uses to gather
information.Interview method, surveys, observation, are some of the most commonly used
methods in the social sciences. If the researcher wishes to unravel in depth information about
individual attitudes, and life experiences, the researcher would use in-depth interviews.
However, if the aim of the research is to gain a holistic, more statistically significant information
he would use a survey.5
Research Design, on the other hand, refers to the blueprint that you prepare using the
research method chosen, and it delineates the steps that you need to take. Research Design
thus tells what is to be done at what time Research Design tells how the goals of a research
project can be accomplished. Key features of any Research Design are the methodology,
collection and assignment of samples, collection, and analysis of data along with procedures
and instruments to be used.6
Research Design
The Research Design refers to the overall strategy that is chosen to integrate the different
components of the study in a coherent and logical way, thereby ensuring that the research
problem is effectively addressed. Five major components of Research Design are7:
(a) A clear statement of the research problem
(b) Review of previously published literature dealing with the problem areas
(c) Clearly and explicitly specifying the hypothesis

(d) Clear description of the data which will be necessary for an adequate test of the
hypothesis and to explain how such data will be obtained
(e) The method of analysis which will be applied to the data in determining whether or
not the hypothesis is false

5
http://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-researchmethods-and-vs-research-design/ accessed on 10 November 2015
6
ibid
7
Singh,Rattan,Legal Research Methodology,2015, p 184
2

Components in Formulating a Research Design


Generally Research Design involves the following major components8 :
(a) Introduction - In the introduction, the researcher has to introduce the subject and relevant
information relating to the topic of research. Introduction should not be too lengthy.
(b) Statement of Problem - The researcher must point out the reason or reasons for choosing
the particular problem for the research study.
(c) Reference to Previous Studies Made - Referring previous studies can help the researcher
to locate a course of action for his study based on the earlier studies.
(d) Objectives of The Study - The objective must be framed bearing in mind the topic of
research. In other words , the objectives must elaborate the title and must indicate in its
wordings the things to be investigated further.
(e) Definition of Concepts - The important concepts that appear frequently in the study must
be explained. These concepts, may relate to the title of research or the objectives or with the
analysis.
(f) Hypothesis - A researcher can include hypothesis in the study or he can omit hypothesis.
But once hypothesis is included, it must be tested. Through this test, it can be proved or
disproved.
(g) Designing the Experiment - This step is very important in experimental research. It is on
the effectiveness of this step that the ultimate reliability and validity of research findings depend.
(h) Limitations of The Study- A study as well as the researcher is subject to limitations of time,
cost, sample, etc. while interviewing respondents, he has to face difficulties. Eliciting of
responses may be difficult. The researcher can point out such limitation in his report.
(i) Methodology and Sampling - Under this heading the researcher has to state the method of
research followed for his study and the tools and techniques of research used to collect data.
The number of scheduled prepared and the way in which data have been collected could also
be explained. Method of sample that has been followed for the study at various stages must
also be mentioned. The researcher can give the sampling frame mentioning how he has arrived
at the conclusion.
(j) Processing , Analysis and Interpretation - A collected data need to be checked for their
inconsistencies or in - accuracies. They are then analyzed and interpreted. This involves
selection of appropriate statistical techniques.
(k) Report Writing and Publication- This is the ultimate step which should describe the target
audience, style and content of the research report.

8
http://www.slideshare.net/REKAGOVIND/components-of-research-design-by-greka?qid=9b76f054-fbb54cf0-90a3-6c1583c98b64&v=default&b=&from_search=2 accessed on 10 November 2015, ''Components
of research design'' , Reka,G

(l) Budget - Though budget does not have a place in all Research Designs it must find a place
in research projects aided by various sponsoring agencies. Time budget as well as cost budget
must find separate place in the budget. The budget aids the researcher to complete the project
within the stipulated cost.
(m) Chapter Scheme - Last item of the Research Design is the chapter scheme. The number of
chapters that the study contains and name of each chapter must be mentioned. The basis for
the chapter scheme must include main findings prominently in independent chapters. The last
chapter must always are findings, conclusions and suggestions.

Going by the above, one should be able to find the following clues or components of the
researchers Research Design.9

What?

Where?

Statement of the problem and its


importance
Predictions

First and second paragraphs, respectively


This work will explore
Last paragraph of the introduction,
foreshadowed in the body of the introduction.
I expect to find.
If not in the last paragraph of the introduction,
beginning of the methods.
To test my predictions I will.
Methods
Who? What? When? Where? How?
Results
To support of my predictions I will
The part of the discussion that reports the
main outcome of the research. The rest of
the discussion section compares the
conclusions to other findings and theoretical
claims.
My evidence supports (hopefully the
predictionsbut evaluate the whole story.).

Formal design statement


(optional)
Participants and procedures.
Analytic strategy
Conclusion

9
http://tigger.uic.edu/~thork/fair/designcomponents-09.htm accessed
on 09 November 2015
4

Researchers might use experimental, descriptive, correlational, or other approaches10 and they
might employ case studies to probe a situation in-depth and to identify variables and
propositions that can serve to direct additional research. Research Design is an action plan that
covers11:
(a) Who/what is studied-the population or a sample? That sample might (or might not) be
representative of the population.
(b) Design considerations. The design might be experimental and address whether certain
variables are controlled and whether variables mask other variables.
(c) The time frame for data collection. Are sampling and repeated measures used?
(d) Threats to reliability and validity. Often, researchers have been concerned about external
validity and the generalizability of the findings; however, external validity can be superficial in
that the generalizations drawn may be too broad to be truly meaningful.
Common Problems and Errors To Avoid In A Research Design
Some of the common problems to avoid when formulating a Research Design are under:12
(a) Lack of Specificity -- the investigative aspects of the study should not be in overly-broad
generalities. Vague qualifiers, such as, extremely, very, entirely, completely, etc should be
avoided. It's important that the design of the study describes the process of investigation in clear
and concise terms.

10
IsaacStephen & Michael,William B., Handbook in Research and
Evaluation (San Diego, CA: Edits Publishers, 1981), Chapter 3.
11
''Components of the research process: where do we need to focus
attention''? The Journal of Academic Librarianship 27 no2 Mr
2001WN:0106002605001,http://web.simmons.edu/~benoit/lis403/hern
on_2001.pdf accessed on 10 November 2015
12
'Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: Design Flaws to
Avoid'- University of Southern
California,http://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/designflaws, accessed
on 09 November 2015
5

(b) Poorly Defined Research Problem -- the starting point of most new research is to formulate
a problem statement and begin the process of formulating questions to address that problem.
The research paper should outline and explicitly delimit the problem and state what is intended
to be investigated [research problem always precedes choice of design].
(c) Lack of Theoretical Framework -- the theoretical framework represents the conceptual
foundation of the study. Therefore, the Research Design should include an explicit set of basic
postulates or assumptions related to the research problem and an equally explicit set of logically
derived hypotheses.
(d) Significance -- the Research Design must include a clear answer to the "So What?"
Question. One should clearly articulate why the study is important and how it contributes to the
larger body of literature about the topic being investigated.
In addition, every effort should be made to keep certain errors down to a minimum13.
(a) Non sampling errors - if the questionnaire or the interview is poorly designed with many
ambiguities, the response will be poor.
(b) Non response errors - chosen respondents do not respond.
(c) Response error - will occur due to mis-recording, inaccurate answer, data analysis error.
(d) Cheating error - questionnaire filled without interviewing anybody, may fill the questionnaire
himself.
Conclusion
Research Design , therefore, is a detailed outline of how an investigation will take
place and will typically include how data is to be collected, what instruments will be
employed, how the instruments will be used and the intended means for analyzing
data collected.
To conclude , we can say that a Research Design has the following five goals14 :
(a) To amass more and more evidence in support of a given hypothesis and eliminate alternate
hypothesis.
(b) To make study , as far as possible, replicable.This can be done by avoiding situations and
procedures which are clearly unique.
(c) To associate variables with one and other in such a way and give prepositions in such a
manner that it becomes possible to determine whether these are related or not.
(d) To plan such techniques for collecting data so that gathering useless and irrelevant facts
may be kept to a minimum in the interests of economy of time and money.

13
Singh, Rattan, Legal Research Methodology, 2015, p188
14
Singh, Rattan,Legal Research Methodology, 2015, p 168.
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