Saturday, November 12, 2011

Research Design

Research designs are concerned with turning the research question into a testing project. The best design depends on your research questions. The research design has been considered as a "blueprint" for research, dealing with at least four problems: what questions to study, what data are relevant, what data to collect, and how to analyze the results.

Research design can be divided into 
* Fixed &
* Flexible

Others have referred to this distinction with 
* Quantitative research designs & 
* Qualitative research designs. 

However, fixed designs need not be quantitative, and flexible design need not be qualitative. In fixed designs the design of the study is fixed before the main stage of data collection takes place. 

Fixed designs are normally theory-driven; otherwise it’s impossible to know in advance which variables need to be controlled and measured. Often these variables are quantitative. 

Flexible designs allow for more freedom during the data collection. One reason for using a flexible research design can be that the variable of interest is not quantitatively measurable, such as culture. In other cases, theory might not be available before one starts the research.

Social researchers ask two fundamental types of research questions: 
1) What is going on (descriptive research)?
2) Why is it going on (explanatory research)?

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