A research design is a framework or blueprint for conducting the marketing research project. It details the procedures necessary for obtaining the information needed to structure or solve marketing research problems. In simple words it is the general plan of how you will go about your research.
Definitions of Research Design
According to Kerlinger
Research design is the plan, structure and strategy of investigation conceived so as to obtain answers to research questions and to control variance.
According to Green and Tull
A research is the specification of methods and procedures for acquiring the information needed. It is the overall operational pattern or framework of the project that stipulates what information is to be collected from which sources by what procedures.
The function of a research design is to ensure that requisite data in accordance with the problem at hand is collected accurately and economically. Simply stated, it is the framework, a blueprint for the research study which guides the collection and analysis of data. The research design, depending upon the needs of the researcher may be a very detailed statement or only furnish the minimum information required for planning the research project.
To be effective, a research design should furnish at least the following details.
- A statement of objectives of the study or the research output.
- A statement of the data inputs required on the basis of which the research problem is to be solved.
- The methods of analysis which shall be used to treat and analyze the data inputs.
More explicitly, the design decisions happen to be in respect of:
- What is the study about?
- Why is the study being made?
- Where will the study be carried out?
- What type of data is required?
- Where can the required data be found?
- What periods of time will the study include?
- What will be the sample design?
- What techniques of data collection will be used?
- How will the data be analyzed?
- In what style will the report be prepared?
Advantages of research design
- Consumes less time.
- Ensures project time schedule.
- Helps researcher to prepare himself to carry out research in a proper and a systematic way.
- Better documentation of the various activities while the project work is going on.
- Helps in proper planning of the resources and their procurement in right time.
- Provides satisfaction and confidence, accompanied with a sense of success from the beginning of the work of the research project.
Need for Research Design
Research design is needed because it facilitates the smooth sailing of the various research operations, thereby making research as efficient as possible yielding maximal information with minimal expenditure of effort, time and money. Research design has a significant impact on the reliability of the results obtained. It thus acts as a firm foundation for the entire research.
For example, economical and attractive construction of house we need a blueprint (or what is commonly called the map of the house) well thought out and prepared by an expert architect, similarly we need a research design or a plan in advance of data collection and analysis for our research project.
Research design stands for advance planning of the methods to be adopted for collecting the relevant data and the techniques to be used in their analysis.
The need for research design is as follows:
- It reduces inaccuracy;
- Helps to get maximum efficiency and reliability;
- Eliminates bias and marginal errors;
- Minimizes wastage of time;
- Helpful for collecting research materials;
- Helpful for testing of hypothesis;
- Gives an idea regarding the type of resources required in terms of money, manpower, time, and efforts;
- Provides an overview to other experts;
- Guides the research in the right direction.