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Ahmed Arif SZABIST, Islamabad

A plan is required to undertake every activity. The research is a very critical process that needs a detailed plan. This plan is called research design. According to Green and Tull, A research design is the specification of methods and procedures for acquiring the information needed. It is the over all operational pattern or framework of the project that stipulates what information is to be collected from which source by what procedures.

What is the Research Study All about? How would the report be prepared? Why is the study required?

How would the data be analyzed?

Where would the study be conducted?

Research Design
What technique of data collection would be used?

What type of data is required?

What would be the sample design? What is the time period of research study?

Where can the require data be found?

Sampling Design
Refers to the part of research design that deals with the method of selecting items for the research study.

Observational Design
Refers to the part of research design that deals with the conditions of observations which are required for the research study.

Statistical Design
Refers to the part of research design that deals with the way of obtaining and analyzing observations

Operational Design
Refers to the part of research design that deals with the techniques of carrying out the preceding three designs.

Research design is important because it:

Facilitates smooth research operation; Provides a methodological way of conducting research; Helps in gathering maximum information with less efforts; Helps in selecting tools for data collection; Suitable methods for the analysis of collected data.

General Features
Applicable to all studies Reliability and minimum personal bias

Specific Features
Different for every research study Flexibility is suitable for exploratory study. Precision and accuracy are important for diagnostic study instead of flexibility. Every statistical tool is not feasible for every research.

Research Design for Exploratory Studies Research Design for Descriptive Studies Research Design for Experimental Studies

Exploratory study, by its very nature, considers different aspects of a situation or topic. Thus, research design for exploratory studies must be flexible enough to consider all different aspects of the research problem. Methods of exploratory studies are:
Review of Literature Experience Surveys

Either of the methods can be followed but the design should be flexible enough.

The researcher should focus on following points while devising a research design for descriptive studies:
Objectives of a research study Techniques of data collection Type of data required Place and time period of data Analyzing data Presenting reports

This design includes the following five steps:

Defining the goals of experiment Identifying and classifying variables (dependent, independent and extraneous) Developing relationship between dependent and independent variables Selecting a suitable experimental design Ensuring the validity of a design

Overall Design

Sampling Design

Statistical Design

Observational Operational Design Design




Not planned

Data can be collected by unstructured methods Structured methods

Not Fixed

Descriptive/ Diagnostic


Probability Pre-Planned


Sampling is the process in which the sufficient number of elements are selected from the population for purpose of study. The characteristics and properties of the selected sample are generalized for the whole population. According to Mildred Patron, Sampling is the process or method of drawing a definite number of individuals, cases or observations from a particular universe selecting part of a total group for investigation.

Refers to the complete group containing all elements on which research is based.


Population Frame


Refers to a single member of population

Refers to the listing of all elements in population.

Refers to the subset of population



Refers to the complete enumeration Refers to the selection of a few of all elements in a population. elements as sample from the population Used when population contains less Used when population contains elements and it is feasible to study numerous elements and it is not each element therein. feasible to conduct complete enumeration. Used when constraint. there is no cost Used when there is cost constraint.

Used when the researcher has Used when the researcher does not enough time and resources to have enough time for complete conduct complete enumeration. enumeration.

1. 2. 3.

Type of Population Sampling Frame Sampling Unit Sampling Method Sampling Size

5. 6. 7.

Budgetary Constraints

Sampling design must produce representative sample Sampling design must result in less sampling errors Sampling design must be feasible in context of available funds
Sample design should result in generalizable results Sampling design should be able to prevent systematic bias in a better way

The difference of results in population and sample. The ways to remove sampling errors:
Increase sample size Stratification

Issues in Sample Size:

Precision Confidence

Occur even if every element is considered.

Important reasons are as follows: Improper division of sampling units of a population Poor response of respondents Bias
Intentional Bias Un-intentional Bias

Sampling Methods

Non Probability Sampling

Probability Sampling

Quota Sampling

Convenience Sampling

Non-Restricted Sampling

Restricted Sampling

Judgment Sampling

Purposive Sampling

Systematic Sampling

Stratified Random Sampling Proportionate Stratified Sampling Disproportionate Stratified Sampling

Snowball Sampling

n = N/1+N (e) 2 Whereas N = Population = 10000 n = Sample Size = 307 e = Error Term = 0.05