Saturday, December 31, 2011

Classification of research designs

Quantitative researchers have developed different types of research designs to facilitate their studies. Their research procedures include organization of the variables, selection of samples, schedule for data collection and techniques for statistical analysis.

Similarities between research designs have allowed to to classify them in various types. The criteria of the use of experiment have allowed to classify the designs in experimental and non-experimental research.  In non- experimental design the researcher studies existing phenomena without intervention in the structure of these phenomena. On the other hand the experimental design require some kind of experiment with the intervention of the researcher. The various types of non-experimental design are: descriptive, causal-comparative and correlational.

Research designs are also classified according to their purpose. Educational studies are undertaken according to four different purposes: description, prediction, improvement and explanation.

If the purpose is description, two types of research design can be used: descriptive and longitudinal. Descriptive research is used when phenomena are studied at one point in time. Longitudinal design is used to study changes that occur in phenomena over time.

If the purpose is prediction, correlational design is used.

When the purpose is explanation a causal-comparative design is used. The design involves finding cause and effect relationships between variables. Correlation and experimental design are also used. I would also add that descriptive design can be used because when you describe something you also explain it.

Finally if the purpose of the design is improvement, experimental design is used.  The reason why experimental design is used is because designing an intervention and following its effects is a kind of experiment.

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