Major Components of Research Design

The primary intent behind the research design is to help avoid the situation in which the evidence doesn’t address the primary research questions. A research design is concerned with a logical problem and not a logistical problem. Five major components of research design are:

1. Research study’s questions
2. Study propositions
3. Unit(s) of analysis
4. Linking data to propositions
5. Interpreting a study’s findings

Major Components of Research Design in Research Methodology

The research design components  apply to all types of qualitative, deductive research, whether in the physical or social sciences.

Research study’s questions: This first component suggests the type of the question-in terms of “who,” “what,” “where,” “how,” and “why”-provides an crucial clue concerning the most relevant research method to be used. Use three stages: In the first, make use of the literature to narrow your interest to a key topic or two. In the 2nd, take a look at closely-even dissect-a few key studies on your topic of interest. Identify the questions in those few studies and whether they conclude with new questions for future research. In the last phase, examine another group of scientific studies on the same topic. They might provide support for your potential questions or even suggest means of sharpening them.

Study propositions: Each proposition directs focus on something which needs to be examined within the scope of study. Only if you are forced to state some propositions will you move in the right direction. For example, you may think that businesses collaborate as they gain mutual benefits. This proposition, apart from highlighting a crucial theoretical issue (that other incentives for collaboration don’t exist or are unimportant), also starts to tell you where you can search for related proof (to define and determine the extent of certain advantages to each business).

Major Components of Research Design

Figure: Key Components

Unit of analysis: It is associated with the fundamental problem of defining what the “case” is-a problem which has affected many researchers at the beginning of case studies. Take example of clinical patients. In this situation, an individual is being studied, and the individual is the key unit of analysis. Information regarding the appropriate individual will be collected, and several such individuals  could be part of a multiple-case study. You would need study questions and propositions to help find out the appropriate information to be collected relating to this individual or individuals. Without such questions and propositions, you could be lured to cover “everything” with regards to the individual(s), which is not possible.

Linking data to propositions: Methods of linking data to propositions are pattern matching, explanation building, time-series analysis, logic models, and cross-case synthesis. The actual analyses will demand that you merge or compute your study data as a direct reflection of your initial study propositions.

Read Also: Elements of Research Design

Interpreting a study’s findings: A statistical analysis determines if the results of the study support the hypothesis. A number of statistical tests, for example T-tests (that determine if two groups are statistically distinct from one another), Chi-square tests (where data are compared to an anticipated outcome) and one-way analysis of variance (provides for the comparison of multiple groups), are carried out according to the type of data, number and types of variables and data categories. Statistical analysis offer some explicit criteria for interpretations. For example, by convention, social science views a p level of less than .05 to indicate that observed differences were “statistically important.” On the other hand, much case study analysis is not going to depend on the use of statistics and so focuses on other methods of thinking about such criteria.

Read Also: Definition of Research Design

In this article, I have discussed about the major components of research design in research methodology. A research design should include the above listed five components. A research design must suggest what data should be gathered, its propositions, units of analysis, it must tell you what is to be done after the data have been gathered.

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