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Every budding researcher hopes to become a pioneer and contribute to the growing knowledge in their subject of interest. However, to conduct research seamlessly and effectively, it is important to know the type of research design you should follow for your research project.
But, before we dive into the details, let’s revisit what research is.
What is research?
Research is an analytical and methodological approach to find new information about a topic, based on available and collected data. In simple terms, to conduct research, you choose a particular topic or problem, try to understand the gaps that could help solve the problem, use established methods to address them, or add new and improved information to the existing pool of knowledge.
A research project is a daunting, time-consuming task, which can be made slightly easier if you are clear about the type of research design to follow beforehand.
So, what are the various types of research designs?
Research designs can be classified based on multiple factors, including the objectives, depth of the study, analysed data, and the time required to study the topic. Interestingly, most research projects are a combination of several design types. Take a look at some of them below:
1. Theoretical research:
Also referred to as basic or fundamental research, theoretical research is an investigation of basic principles and causes underlying the occurrence of a particular event or phenomenon. It focuses on the formulation of theories and may not focus on the immediate applicability of the findings.
Example: A philosophical dissertation that does not consider the practical applications of the newly derived information.
2. Applied research
This type of research design is experimental in nature and uses various concepts and theories to arrive at answers for a specific research problem. A key goal of this research is to generate scientific knowledge with high applicability, thus making it a common choice for researchers in the STEM fields.
Example: A study on enhancing virus detection techniques for improved efficiency.
3. Exploratory research
This research design focuses on examining a new concept or a less explored phenomenon. It relies less on theory and more on the collection of data to identify patterns that explain the occurrence. It may not offer a solution to the perceived problem.
Example: A study to analyse the impact of advertising on the sale of a product.
4. Descriptive research
This research design is based on describing a certain event or phenomenon without investigating its causes. However, the researcher should ensure that no external factor should lead to any changes in the phenomenon during the investigation.
Example: A study on the extent of racism in a country.
5. Explanatory research
This research design focuses on the cause-and-effect relationship of a particular event or procedure, under the effect of its environment.
Example: A study on the impact of a stressful life on physical health.
6. Correlational research
This research design explores the relationship between two or more occurrences by studying their interdependence. It focuses on the extent or manner in which one variable impacts the other.
Example: A study on the impact of lesser work hours on employee productivity.
7. Longitudinal research
This research design involves collecting data on the changes that occur in a species or a phenomenon, over a long period of time. Often, these changes are monitored based on the influence of external factors.
Example: A study to analyse changes in a population over a period of 20 years.
10. Cross-sectional research: This research design is used to observe a phenomenon, or a species at a definite point of time, without any external influence.
Example: A survey to examine the current obesity levels in the United States.
If you want to learn about additional research designs or are still confused about the most suitable type of design for your project, do not panic! Experts from Elsevier Author Services will be happy to guide you, help you choose the correct research design, and to submit a high-quality manuscript.