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Types of Research Design - A Guide


Conducting a study is a complex process. It involves a lot of effort and planning to complete your work successfully. Beginning your study with careful planning will help you structure your work effectively and provide a high-quality result. Hence, it is important to ensure that you choose the right methodologies, tools, and techniques to conduct your research. In a study, research design can help you formulate your work in the best possible way. This article will help you choose the right research design for your study. Read ahead to know more about what is research design, the types of research design, and tips to choose the right one.

What is Research Design?

Research design is the method that a researcher uses to gather information and organize the structure of their research paper or study or project. A researcher can choose from a variety of designs available by evaluating their problem and the topic. These designs can help you in gathering data that is necessary for the topic you have chosen.

Features of Research Design


One of the main factors that every researcher ought to consider is that their research paper should be free of bias. This helps in it being objectively more reliable. It is therefore imperative that your findings are purely objective and do not exhibit an inclination toward anything.


This is an extension of the previous point but requires prompt mention nonetheless. The research design ought to be reliable. It is one of the key features it should have.  If the instrument is used to find solutions to your research inquiry occasionally changes its response, it cannot be regarded as a reliable one.


The efficiency of a research design is determined by the generalizability of the outcome. If the outcome is applicable to a large crowd and not just a confined group, the design can be considered generalizable.


In order to evaluate the correctness of the study results and determine whether they are consistent with the research objectives, the researcher must use the appropriate measurement tools.

Types of Research Design

There are various research design options available for you to select from. You can evaluate your research topic, go through the available research designs, and select the one that best fits your needs. In order to choose one, consider the objectives of the research work and also how you are going to collect the data for your analysis. You may also consider the methods you are going to follow for your data collection and how you are going to analyze them. Continue reading to learn about the various research design types and to receive an overview of each design.

Research design is primarily of two types:

  1. Qualitative Research
  2. Quantitative Research

Now, let us look at the characteristics of qualitative research and quantitative research.

Qualitative Research

The focus of qualitative analysis is coming up with ideas and formulating a theory or hypothesis. Qualitative design can provide answers to issues such as how and why an event takes place. The basis of qualitative research is mostly open-ended survey questions and consequently, conclusive responses. In qualitative research, the researcher cannot express their findings through statistics.

Quantitative Research

The outcomes of quantitative research can be expressed in the form of statistics, graphs, numbers, etc. Unlike qualitative research, the result of the quantitative analysis is close-ended. The researcher makes use of figures and statistics to investigate the numerous variables. The participation of a large number of people is required.

Qualitative research and quantitative research can be further divided into 5 types of research design and they are:

  1. Explanatory Research Design
  2. Diagnostic Research Design
  3. Descriptive Research Design
  4. Correlational Research Design
  5. Experimental Research Design

Explanatory Research Design

As the name suggests, it is a method in which the researcher will be exploring topics that have not been previously researched before. Its major purpose is to shed light on hazy parts of a certain topic. Explanatory research is conducted to provide a detailed understanding of a problem. It tries to find out why certain situations occur and what are effects of that situations are. Literary surveys, case studies, and experience surveys are examples of explanatory research design.

Diagnostic Research Design

This kind of research explores the root cause of a phenomenon or a circumstance. This helps you understand the factors that are leading to these circumstances or the factors that are causing difficulty to the problem. It has three stages

  • The problem inception phase
  • The problem diagnosis phase, and
  • The problem solution phase.

Descriptive Research Design

A descriptive research design is one that seeks data in order to methodically characterize a phenomenon, circumstance, or population. It uses a wide range of research techniques to look at one or more factors. It helps in resolving the what, when, where, and how of the research problem.

Correlational Research Design

The non-experimental research method known as correlational research involves measuring comprehending and evaluating two variables and their statistical relationship, all without the interference of any other variables. This type of research design solely depends on the scientific methodology and hypothesis.

Experimental Research Design

It is a method that focuses on the relationship between two variables.  The effect of the independent variable on the dependent variable is examined by the researcher. The variables are allowed to intervene by other variables and the subsequent changes that happen to them are observed. It analyzes the cause and effect relationship of an event.


In order to plan your study effectively and efficiently, you can choose any of the above-mentioned research methods. These designs help you to structure your study in the most appropriate way. Choose the design that suits your study and plan your research accordingly.

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