If we briefly and carefully review the research process, the researcher must formulate a plan first and implement it in later stage. The plan provides direction and proper guidelines to research. Identifying the research problem, setting of objectives, identifying indicators and variables, setting of hypothesis (if needed), identifying population, choosing sampling methods and sample, designing the tools for data collection than data analysis, operational definition of concepts used in research, and identifying the format for reporting are part of research planning. These series of activities must be performed in a sequential manner. Careless in single elements may spoiled entire hard work in research. The whole process of research planning is commonly called research design. Thus, research design is an important part of research. It determines the success and the failure of the research.
Research design is logical and systematic planning and directing of research activities. It is a master plan specifying the methods and procedures for collecting and analyzing the needed information to achieve objective of research. In other words, it is a framework or blueprint for conducting the research project. It details the procedures necessary for obtaining the information needed to structure or solve marketing research problems.
The formidable problem that follows the task of defining the research problem is the preparation of the design of the research project, popularly known as the “research design” (Kothari, 2004). A research design is the arrangement of logical activities that is used for the collection and analysis of data that aims to perform a research work in the systematic manner in order to achieve the research objectives.
A research design appropriate for a particular research problem, usually involves the consideration of the following factors:
· The means of obtaining information;
· The availability and skills of the researcher and his staff, if any;
· The objective of the problem to be studied;
· The nature of the problem to be studied; and
· The availability of time and money for the research work.
( Kothari, 2004)
Elements of Research Design
Planning in research needs some elements which are essential parts of research itself. Researcher carefully evaluate each elements and formulate research design. Following are the element of research design:
- Subject matter of study
- Report writing
Researcher at first consider the problems and identify the research problems. Problems at first recognized in broad sense. Researcher separate the components of problems and consider only few components for the study using SMART criteria. But research problems must be enough to carry research and find its solution. It is a comprehensive task and must be carefully defined. It is vital for setting the objective of research project. Setting objectives is the outcome of how research problem is present by researcher.
While designing the research project researcher must define and use of methodology in research. Researcher must consider the epistemology and ontology while define the methodology used in research. Methodology guide the types of methods used in research for data collection and analysis.
Methods is another elements of research design consists of a collection of different techniques and tools of data collection and analysis. While selecting tools and techniques researcher must consider reliability and validity of these tools. There is a deep connection of methods used in research between methodology and research problems.
Documentation of the entire research activities is another elements of research design. Researcher must plan the format of report and consider the plan to published findings of study. Research must plan activities and finding must be written in report after finishing the research activities.
All these element are interconnected. carelessness in one element at the time of planning affect the entire research project. The level of design of research are dependent on research philosophy and nature. design is flexible in case of exploratory research but rigid in explanatory research.
Things to be consider while Research Design
There are many things to be considered for research design. Some of the major factors are explain below:
Knowledge of Researcher: research planning is affected by knowledge of researcher. If researchers have some basic or advanced knowledge about elements and methodology than s/he can plan the research in a proper way. If researcher is beginner or does not have some knowledge than s/he must seek help from other researcher or expert for planning of research.
Identification of Indicator: researcher must able to identify the research variable. In research design the concept are measured by indicator. Indicator consists of one or more variables. If a researcher is unable to identify the indicator of concept s/he should take help from supervisor and other for identification of indicators and variables. The knowledge of researcher, philosophy of research, nature of research type and so on are the factors for identification of indicators.
Research philosophy: another factor that must be considered for designing research is application of research philosophy. Positivism, empiricism and so on are some of research philosophy commonly use in research. The degree of rigid and structural design of research is based on these philosophy. The qualitative and quantitative philosophy demand different models of research design.
Available of Existing literature : research is conducted to fulfill the gap in existing knowledge. The type of research to be conducted is also determined by the availability of existing knowledge. Few availability of knowledge mostly demand exploratory research. If existing knowledge identify the variables than new research must focus on correlational design, explanatory design or descriptive research design. Similarly, testing of existing theory need quantitative research design rather than qualitative research design,
Time and Cost: time and cost is also measure things to be considering research. Time factor is vital because decision makers need information at the right time. Therefore, the researcher must come to conclusion at right and time also increase the cost of conducting research.