Introduction to Design
What is Research Design?
Research design can be thought of as the
of research -- it is the "glue" that holds allof the elements in a research project together. We often describe a design using a concisenotation that enables us to summarize a complex design structure efficiently. What are the"elements" that a design includes? They are:
servations or Measures
These are symbolized by an '
' in design notation. An
can refer to a single measure (e.g., ameasure of body weight), a single instrument with multiple items (e.g., a 10-item self-esteemscale), a complex multi-part instrument (e.g., a survey), or a whole battery of tests or measuresgiven out on one occasion. If you need to distinguish among specific measures, you can usesubscripts with the
, as in
, and so on.
reatments or Programs
These are symbolized with an '
' in design notations. The
can refer to a simple intervention(e.g., a one-time surgical technique) or to a complex hodgepodge program (e.g., anemployment training program). Usually, a no-treatment control or comparison group has nosymbol for the treatment (some researcher¶s use
to indicate the treatment andcontrol respectively). As with observations, you can use subscripts to distinguish differentprograms or program variations.
Each group in a design is given its own line in the design structure. If the design notation hasthree lines, there are three groups in the design.
Assignment to group is designated by a letter at the beginning of each line (i.e., group) thatdescribes how the group was assigned. The major types of assignment are: