What Is the Purpose of Research Design?

Research design, like any framework of research, has its methods and purpose. The purpose of research design is to provide a clear plan of the research, based on independent and dependent variables, and to consider the cause and effect evoked by these variables.


Methods that constitute research design can include:


  • Observations
  • Surveys
  • Interviews
  • Experiments
  • Working with archives
  • Other methods


As we’ve explained here, the methods of research always back up the purpose and the goals of the research.


research process

Main Goals of Research Design

  1. The main goal of research design is for a researcher to make sure that the conclusions they’ve come to are justified. It means that the research has to confirm or deny the hypothesis.
  2. Another purpose of research design is to broaden the researcher’s understanding of the topic, and to make them more conscious about various places, groups, and settings.
  3. Finally, research design allows the researcher to achieve an accurate understanding of the topic they are working on, and be able to explain the topic to others.


Usually, you cannot accomplish all these three goals at the same time, but you can try to do that by using multi-stage design in your study, which is also known as multi-stage sampling.


research design framework

Examples of Research Design

One should choose the type of research design corresponding to the particular purpose of their research. Here are some examples to choose from when you’re doing research.

General Structure and Writing Style

The chosen type should help the researcher work on the hypothesis accurately; while collecting data, you have to choose specific evidence, which will show you the differences between the variables. Before conducting research, think about what information you will need and how you're going to use it. Otherwise, you can get lost.

Action Research 

When you’ve developed an understanding of the problem, and you’ve begun planning an interventional strategy, action research design helps to bring the deviation to the surface. You make an observation and bookmark the deviation. Then you commit an action, and compare the outcome of having committed the action with the outcome of not having committed the action.

Case Study

We would use a case study when studying a particular problem and when we take some broad samples and try to narrow them down to subjects that are researchable. This one is also cool when we need to check if a certain theory applies to a certain real-world problem.


Causal Research

If A is X, then B is Y — that's how we can simplify causality. By comparing two or more variables, a researcher can understand the effect they have on each other. This effect can then be measured in terms of causality: i.e., what constitutes the cause and the effect.

Cohort Study

Cohort studies are more often used in medical studies, but are now gaining popularity in social science. They are based on a quantitative framework, where a researcher makes notes on a statistical occurrence within a subgroup, with members of the group having similar features that are related to the study topic, rather than analyzing mathematical occurrences within a custom group. Observation is the main method of data gathering in cohort studies.


How to Study Research Design

You can learn research design:



Remember that the step-by-step approach is the one that will help you most. Also, you can try to implement other research formats from multiple spheres and try some more mixed methods of research. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

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