Research Designs

Different Research DesignsThe design is the structure of any scientific work. It gives direction and systematizes the research. Different types of research designs have different advantages and disadvantages.

The method you choose will affect your results and how you conclude the findings. Most scientists are interested in getting reliable observations that can help the understanding of a phenomenon.

There are two main approaches to a research problem:

What are the difference between Qualitative and Quantitative Research?

Different Research Methods

There are various designs which are used in research, all with specific advantages and disadvantages. Which one the scientist uses, depends on the aims of the study and the nature of the phenomenon:

Descriptive Designs

Aim: Observe and Describe

Correlational Studies

Aim: Predict

Semi-Experimental Designs

Aim: Determine Causes

Experimental Designs

Aim: Determine Causes

Reviewing Other Research

Aim: Explain

Test Study Before Conducting a Full-Scale Study

Aim: Does the Design Work?

Typical Experimental Designs

Simple Experimental Techniques

Complex Experimental Designs

Which Method to Choose?

What design you choose depends on different factors.

  • What information do you want? The aims of the study.
  • The nature of the phenomenon - Is it feasible to collect the data, and if so, would it be valid/reliable?
  • How reliable should the information be?
  • Is it ethical to conduct the study?
  • The cost of the design
  • Is there little or much current scientific theory and literature on the topic?

Survey Guide

The full guide - How to create a Survey / Questionnaire


Planning a Survey

Questions and Answers

Types of Surveys

Conducting the Survey

After the Survey


Further Reading

Found this article useful? Share it!

Search over 500 articles on psychology, science, and experiments.
How to cite this article: 

(Jun 17, 2008). Research Designs. Retrieved Nov 28, 2015 from

Want to stay up to date? Follow us!