Once you’ve decided whether you’re doing qualitative or quantitative research, the next step is figuring out the broad shape your research will take and what research design is best for you. In this video, I’ll help you decide what research design is right for your research. First we’ll get to grips with the two main types of what research design really are- of quantitative design, and then we’ll dive into some common types of qualitative design. Quantitative designs can be split into two main categories. Descriptive and correlational designs aim to measure variables and understand relationships between them, while experimental and quasi-experimental designs are best for testing cause-and-effect relationships. What research design for descriptive and correlational designs, you measure variables without influencing them. This allows you to observe characteristics, trends, and relationships as they exist in the real world. What research design for descriptive design focuses only on systematically measuring variables, while a correlational design tests whether variables are related to each other. For example, you could use a correlational design to find out if the rise in online teaching in the past year correlates with any change in test scores. With these designs, it’s hard to draw conclusions about what research design cause and effect because other factors may influence the results. For example, the change in test scores might not be caused by classes being taught online, but by other variables such as increased stress and health issues among students and teachers. What research design experimental design involves manipulating an independent variable and measuring the outcome of a dependent variable while controlling other factors. For example, let’s say you want to test whether a new online teaching method improves test scores. The independent variable is the teaching method, and the dependent variable is the test score. In an experimental design, you would randomly assign one group of students to be taught using the new method and another group to be taught using a standard method, in order to compare their outcomes in test scores.
Experiments are the strongest way to test cause-and-effect relationships without the risk of other variables influencing the results. However, their controlled conditions may not always reflect how things work in the real world for what research design really is. They’re often also more difficult and expensive to implement. If it isn’t possible to randomly sort your subjects into groups, another option is a quasi-experimental design. What research design of this type means comparing the outcomes of pre-existing groups that differ on an independent variable. For example, if one teacher in a school has already decided to implement the new teaching method, you could test whether her class outcomes differ from comparable classes that use the standard method. So, those are the main types of quantitative research design. But what if you’re doing qualitative research? What research design is for that? What research design like Qualitative designs tends to be a bit less rigidly defined. This approach is about gaining a rich, detailed understanding of a specific context or phenomenon, and you can often be more creative and flexible in designing your research. Two common types of what research design of qualitative design are case studies and ethnographies, both of which involve taking a deep dive into a narrowly defined subject. Case study designs involve choosing a subject and gathering detailed data on it. You can also do several case studies and compare them. For example, you could do a case study on a typical high school in your area, or you could choose three high schools with different demographic profiles and do case studies to compare their experiences of online learning. Ethnographic designs involve gathering data about the culture of a specific social group or organization by immersing yourself in and often directly participating in the community. The aim is to give a rich, full account of the beliefs, habits and social dynamics of the chosen group. For example, you could do an ethnographic study of a particular school by joining and observing classes over several weeks or months, aiming to gain a rich understanding of how students and teachers interact and behave in online and offline environments.
There are many other kinds of qualitative design, and what research design, they often look quite similar in terms of data collection, but take different approaches to interpreting and understanding the data. For example: Phenomenological research aims to understand a phenomenon or event by describing participants’ lived experiences. Narrative research examines how stories are told to understand how people perceive and make sense of their experiences. Grounded theory takes a more systematic approach, using qualitative data to develop new theories and hypotheses. So, now you’ve got a good idea of the types of designs you can choose from. Next up: who exactly will your research focus on, and how will you go about selecting your participants?.