The Layers of Research Design
The purpose of doing research is mostly to answer a question or to solve a problem. The research work is started by identifying what type of data is needed and sources of obtaining this data. There are a number of data collection techniques such as questionnaires, interviews and personal observation. Besides all these sources secondary data can also be used. The final decision about overall research design is represented by selection of technique(s) used to obtain data and procedure(s) used to analyze this data. It is the core of whole research design. In the article, we use the “Research Onion” as symbolic word to describe relation between the core of research onion and outer layers on research onion. The situation (context) and limits within which data collection techniques and analysis procedures are selected depends on researcher’s understandings and decisions about these outer layers. This article is concerned with outer layers of research onion and implication of these elements (outer layers) on the overall research design including core of design. However, in order to develop an appropriate and meaningful research design, the consideration of these outer layers is very much important. We cannot consider them unnecessary like the case of an onion. In this article, we begin with the outer most layer which gives an overview of different research philosophies and their implications for the research design. We then come backward to each of the next layer which are about methodological choice, strategy(ies) and the time horizon respectively and consider their implication for the research design. We will conclude by emphasizing the importance of meaningful research design.
A researcher’s way of viewing the world and his or her set of assumptions about human knowledge and nature of realities define how a research question is understood and associated research design. The main influence on...
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