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Research Design

Introduction Nature of and classification of design Developing and appropriate research design Experimental research design
Randomized design Latin Square design Factorial design

Basic principles, types of experimental design -pre-experimental design -true-experimental design Validity
External Internal

1. Introduction
A research design is the arrangement of conditions for collection and analysis of data in a manner that aims to combine relevance to the research purpose with economy in procedure. Research design is the conceptual structure or framework within which research is conducted. It constitutes the blueprint for the collection, measurement and analysis of data. As such the research design includes an outline of what the researcher will do from writing the hypothesis to the final analysis of data.

1.1 Research Design Decisions

More explicitly, the research design decisions happens to be in respect of:
What is the study about? Why is the study being undertaken? (Rationale) Where will the study be carried out? What type of data would be required? What would be most appropriate source for these data? What would be the sample design? What would be time frame for the study? What techniques of data collection will be used? How will the data be analyzed? In what style will the report be prepared?

1.2 Important Features of a Research Design

From what has been stated in the previous slide, one can state the important features of a research design as:
It is a plan that specifies the sources and types of information relevant to the research problem It is a strategy specifying which approach will be used for gathering and analyzing data It also includes the resource and other constraints under which the study would be conducted

In brief a research design must contain:

A clear statement of the research problem Procedures and techniques to be used for gathering information The population to be studied, and Methods to be used in processing and analyzing data

2. Nature of and Classification of Design

Research Design Exploratory Research Design Conclusive Research Design

Descriptive Research

Causal Research

Cross-Sectional Design

Longitudinal Design

2.1 Classification of Design

Research designs can be broadly classified as exploratory or conclusive Exploratory research
The primary objective is to provide insights into, and an understanding of, the problem confronting the researcher. The information needed is loosely defined The research process that is adopted is flexible and unstructured Given the above characteristics, the findings of exploratory research is generally regarded as tentative or as input for further research Typically such research is followed by further exploratory or conclusive research

Conclusive research
The objective of conclusive research is to test specific hypotheses and examine specific relationships. It is typically more formal and structured Conclusive research design may be either descriptive or causal, and descriptive research may be either cross-sectional or longitudinal Descriptive research
The major objective of descriptive research is to describe something with some degree of certainty

Causal research
It is used to obtain evidence of cause-and-effect (causal) relationships.

Causal research is appropriate for the following purposes

To understand which variables are the cause (independent variables) and which variables are the effect (dependent variables) of a phenomenon To determine the nature of the relationship between the causal variables and the effect

3. Developing an Appropriate Research Design

Because of varied research objective adopted by researchers, it is impossible to outline a research design that is appropriate for achieving all types of research objectives. The question of good design is related to the purpose or objective of the research problem and also with the nature of the problem to be studied. Generally, the design which minimizes bias and maximizes the reliability of the data collected and analyzed is considered a good design.

A research design appropriate for a particular research problem, usually involves the consideration of the following factors:
The The The The means of obtaining information skills of the researcher objective of the problem to be studied availability of resources

4. Experimental Research Design

An experimental research design is a set of procedures specifying:
The test units (for example, individuals) and how these units are to be divided into homogenous subsamples What independent variable(s) or treatment(s) are to be manipulated What dependent variable(s) are to be measured, and How the extraneous variables are to be controlled

4.1 Symbols Used in Experimental Designs

X = the exposure of a group to an independent variable, treatment, or event, the effects of which are to be determined O = The process of observation or measurement of the dependent variable on the test units or group of units R = the random assignment of test units or groups to separate treatment

4.2. Randomized Design

In randomized design the test units are randomly assigned to experimental treatments. Randomized block designs are useful when there is only one major external variable, such as sales, store size, or income of the respondent, that might influence the dependent variable. The test units are blocked, or grouped, on the basis of the external variable. By blocking, the researcher ensures that the various experimental and control groups are matched closely on the external variable.

4.3. Latin Square Design

A Latin Square is used in experimental designs in which one wishes to compare treatments and to control for two other known sources of variation. Latin Squares were first used in agricultural experiments. It was recognized that within a field there would be fertility trends running both across the field and up and down the field.
So, in an experiment to test, say, four different fertilizers, A, B, C, and D, the field would be divided into four horizontal strips and four vertical strips, thus producing 16 smaller plots. A Latin Square design will give a random allocation of fertilizer type to a plot in such a way that each fertilizer type is used once in each horizontal strip (row) and once in each vertical strip (column).

4.4. Factorial Design

A factorial design is used to measure the effects of two or more independent variables at various levels. Unlike the randomized block design and Latin Square, factorial designs allow for interactions between variables. An interaction is said to take place when the simultaneous effect of two or more variables is different from the sum of their separate effects. A factorial design may also be conceptualized as a table. In a two-factor design, each level of one variable represents a row and each level of another variable represents a column. Multidimensional tables can be used for three or more factors. Factorial designs involve a cell for every possible

5. Types of Experimental Design

Pre-experimental designs
One shot design (after only design) One group pre- and post-test design Static group design

True experimental Designs

Post-test only control group design Pre- and post-test control group design

5.1 One Shot Design

Also know as after-only design, can be symbolically represented as: O1 X A single group of test unit is exposed to a treatment (X), and then a single measurement on the dependent variable is taken (O1 ). There is no random assignment of test units. Note that the symbol R is not used, because the test units are self-selected or selected arbitrarily by the researcher.

5.2 One Group Pre-Post test Design

O1 X O2 Symbolized as: In this design, a group of test units is measured twice. There is no control group. First a pre-treatment measure is taken (O1), then the group is exposed to the treatment (X). Finally, a post-treatment measure is taken (O2). The treatment effect is treated as O2 - O1

5.3 Static Group Design

It is a two group experimental design. One group called the experimental group (EG), is exposed to the treatment, and the other, called the control group (CG), is not. Measurements on both groups are made only after the treatment, and test units are not assigned at random. This is symbolically described as:
EG:X O1 O2 CG:

The treatment effect is measured as O1 - O2

5.4 Pretest-Posttest Control Group Design

The distinguishing feature of the true experimental designs, as compared to preexperimental designs, is randomization. In true experimental designs, the researcher randomly assigns test units to experimental groups and treatments to experimental groups. In the pretest-posttest control group design, test units are randomly assigned to either the experimental or the control group, and a pretreatment measure is taken on each group. Only the experimental group is exposed to the treatment, but post-test measures are taken on both groups.

The design is symbolized as:

EG:R O1 X CG: R O3

O2 O4

The treatment effect (TE) is measured as:

(O2 - O1) (O4 - O3 )

Posttest-Only Control Group Design

The posttest-only control group design does not involve any pre-measurement. It may be symbolized as:


O1 O2

Treatment effect is obtained by TE = O1 - O2 The design is fairly simple to implement, because there is no pre-measurement, the testing effects are eliminated.

6. Validity
When conducting an experiment, a researcher has two goals:
1. Draw valid conclusions about the effects of independent variables 2. Make valid generalizations to a larger population of interest.

The first goal concerns internal validity, and the second goal concerns external validity

6.1 Internal Validity

Internal validity refers to whether the manipulation of the independent variables or treatments actually caused the observed effects on the dependent variables. Thus, internal validity examines whether the observed effects on the test units could have been caused by variables other than the treatment. If the observed effects are influenced or confounded by extraneous variables, it is difficult to draw valid inferences about the causal relationship between the independent and dependent variables. Internal validity is the basic minimum that must be present in an experiment before any conclusion about treatment effects can be made. Control of extraneous variable(s) is a necessary condition for establishing internal validity

Threats to Validity
Specific events that are external to the experiment but occur at the same time as the experiment

Changes in test units over a period of time

Testing Effects
Caused by the process of experimentation

Refers to changes in the measuring instrument

Statistical Regression
Occurs when test units with extreme scores move closer to the average score during the course of the experiment

Selection Bias
Improper assignment of test units to treatment conditions

Refers to loss of test units while the experimentation is in progress

6.2 External Validity

External validity refers to whether the cause-andeffect relationships found in the experiment can be generalized. In other words, can the results be generalized beyond the experimental situation

It is desirable to have an experimental design that has both internal and external validity, but there is a dilemma
To control the effects of extraneous variables, a researcher may conduct an experiment in an artificial environment. This enhances internal validity, but it may limit the generalizability of the results, thereby reducing external validity.

End of Chapter 3