Paper Example on Research Designs

Published: 2021-07-01
950 words
4 pages
8 min to read
Sewanee University of the South
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A research design refers to the various methods that used by a researcher when he/she is collecting data. It helps the researcher to be in a position to critically analyze the variables that are being used in research (Mitchell, & Jolley, 2013).The four main research designs are experimental, observation, survey and existing sources or secondary analysis research design (Witt, n.d.).

Experimental research design

In this type of design, the researcher changes the current situation so as to give a change of the outcome at the end of the study. In most cases even before the collection of data starts in this design the experiments are usually already fixed.


While dealing with this type of research design the researcher normally have a high level of controlling the variables. Through this, they can get an accurate answer on what they are researching about.

Using the experimental research method is of great advantage to the researcher because he can use it in different situations.

This research design gives one clear conclusion about what he is testing this is because it only tests one variable at a time.

There is a broad range of variety that can be chosen from this type of research design, and each can give different levels of importance it all depends on what the researcher is testing.


This kind of research can at times give misleading answers because it is prone to errors, for example, it is difficult for the researcher to know the control element while dealing with this type of design.

The data can be manipulated to as to give an answer which the researcher wants at the end.

This design can be time-consuming and expensive since individual experiments are done one at a time.


This simply refers to when the researcher watches what other people are doing. There are three types of observation that are the controlled observation, natural observation and the participant kind of observation


Through this kind of research, the researcher can analyze information by directing having access to people in their real life situations.

This kind of design tends to important in that it explains the meaning and content as it is seen.

Observation can be a good research design because it can give an in-depth meaning as well as a strong understanding of information.

It is applicable in situations where questionnaires nor interviews are inappropriate to gather information.


People tend to view the observation method as being too subjective.

This research design tends to be time-consuming.

While dealing with this research design, it is dependent on the role of the researcher towards the information he/she is gathering.

It may lead to the researcher being unethical and hence appear biased in his information that he gathers.

Observation may lead to a high possibility of conflict for other practitioners who are researchers.


A survey refers to an interview as well as a discussion which is held by a group briefly with the aim of collecting information. Surveys can be conducted through the use of questionnaires or interviews.


Surveys tend to provide a high level of representation especially when a researcher is dealing with a large population. Through this, the data collected tends to be of high quality because a large number of the actual population is involved.

The cost of conducting surveys is relatively low this is because one only need to publish the questionnaires.

It is a convenient method of collecting data. Data can be collected via a variety of channels such as through the Internet, or even through emails.

Surveys act as a basis in which precise results can arrive at this is through scrutiny and standardization which lead to the provision of uniform definitions to all the subjects who are intended to participate in the process.

Surveys help in the elimination of bias by the researcher. They provide all the participants with a standardized stimulus.


Surveys can be considered as an inflexible design to be used in research. This is because the methods that the researcher chooses to use while starting the research, he will have to use it until the end of the research he is not allowed to change.

Surveys can lead to having inappropriate questions being asked. The researcher standardizes the questions before distributing them to the various intended subjects.

Surveys cannot be used while one is dealing with controversial issues. This is because the subjects may tend to ignore such questions when they dont recall such events about what the researcher asks.

Secondary sources/existing sources

This refers to information which is contained in books or documentaries and contains information about the day to day events.


I. Getting information from this sources helps the researcher to be able to save time. This is because they are easily accessible. People nowadays can get online books or even go to the library, and this helps, in saving of time.

II. Use of secondary sources in research are less expensive as compared to other methods of collecting data.

III. The information contained by the secondary sources is reliable for the researcher to use this is because once a book is written it is never edited again or often.

IV. Secondary sources helps a researcher to be able to generate new insights this is by comparing the works or information contained in different documents.


1. Data collected through this design tends to be inappropriate since when the researcher is gathering the information, he tends to have a certain idea in his mind already.

2. The data collected tends to be of low quality. This is because some sources contain information which is outdated and hence need to be edited to be in line with the current issues.


Witt, J. Soc (1st Ed.).

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