The term design means “drawing an outline” or planning or arranging details. It is a process of making decision before the situation arises in which the decision has to be carried out. Research design is planning a strategy of conducting research. It plans as to: what is to be observed, how it is to be observed, how to record observations, how to analyze/interpret the observation and how to generalize. Research design is, thus a detailed plan of how the goals of research will be achieved.
Descriptive Research Design:
Descriptive research studies are designed to obtain information concerning the current status of a given phenomenon. Descriptive research is concerning with the existing conditions or relationship, prevailing practices, attitude process and their effects. The aim of descriptive research is to describe “what exists” with respect to variables or conditions in a given situation.
Evaluation or evaluatory research is basically carried out to know the outcome or effect of a particular efforts, it evaluates the programs and services and determine how effectively they are achieving their goals. Evaluation research often used for testing of cause effect relationship. As such experimental designs are more appropriate for the purpose of evaluation research.
The after – only evaluation design without a control group- In this type of design the measurements are limited in the target group and taken only at the time after completion of the project activities. As no evaluation done before project implemented so it is difficult to assess through this design the degree to which changes occurred. The After only Evaluation design with a control (comparison) group-In this design a control group or comparison group similar to the experimental group for which project activates have been implemented, is selected and both the groups (experimental, control) are evaluated with respect to dependent variable only after completion of project activities.
The ‘Before’ – ‘After’ Evaluation Design without Control Group-This design involves two measurements of the target group, one before the implementation of the project and another after the completion of the project. The difference in target groups’ position after the project implementation is measured to know the effect of the program.
The ‘Before’ ‘After’ Evaluation design with control group-In this study design one or more control groups similar in characteristics where the program is not being implemented are involved. In this design of study, both the target group and control group are measured at the beginning and also at the end of the project.
Action Research Design: Action research is conducted for problem solving. It is also known as applied research; it is the combination of research and practice. Therefore, while we undertake action research we have to keep in mind the action plan to resolve the problem of study. The involvement of people for whom the action research is conducted is the key to action research, accordingly some authors use to call it ‘Participatory action research’.
This type of action research always contains the following:-
- The investigator
- Participation of people who are fundamental to the issue being researched
- Focus on action to bring social change.
Action research intends to solve problems through research and planned action. In this research, the focus is on solving problems through adoption of alternative practices suggested by research study. Two important objectives of action research are
- to find out the cause of the problem
- to suggest action to resolve the problem.
Diagnostic Research Design:
The diagnostic research is concerned with finding and analyzing the cause of a problem. It examines variables leading to diagnose the cause of the problems. For example: Why girls obtain more marks in higher education than boys? Another example could be study to find out why people from low income group seem to be better adjusted and satisfied to their life than those from higher income group? This means the focus of a diagnostic study is on the nature and causes of problem. The course of action used in diagnostic studies must be cautiously planned since the objective here is to diagnose the problem. The research design for these studies must make a much greater provisions for protection against bias.
Exploratory Research Studies:
The purpose of exploratory studies is to formulate a problem for a more precise or specific research or to develop hypothesis. Although, an exploratory study can also be conducted to enhance the familiarity of researcher with the phenomena he wishes to study later some time in a more specific and accurate way. For example If a researcher wanted to study social interaction patterns of HIV infected patients but knew little or nothing about the phenomenon; an exploratory research would be appropriate. A preliminary interview with the relative of HIV infected patients would enable researcher to develop a specific study design. Exploratory studies, thus, help researchers to acquaint themselves with the characteristics of their research problem.