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Research Design

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Research Design

Quantitative? Qualitative? What's the difference between these two types of research designs? How do we know which one to use and when to use it? In psychology, the research design is how scientists answer questions (or hypotheses) with collected observations. There are particular structures and systematic ways to form a conclusion. Research design in psychology includes data collection, analysis, and interpretation of results.

  • What are different types of quantitative research design?
  • What are different types of qualitative research design?
  • How is data collected for quantitative and qualitative research?

Quantitative Research Design Features

Quantitative research design follows the same principles as the scientific research method. The features of quantitative research design include several steps. The research starts with deductive reasoning, that is, forming a hypothesis. We gather data to explore the issue. After data analysis, we can form conclusions about the hypothesis.

Quantitative Research Types

The following text describes four types of quantitative research.

Descriptive Research

Strangely, this quantitative research type does not often begin with a hypothesis. Instead, the researcher forms a hypothesis after collecting the data and identifying variables. The basis of this descriptive research type is a description of an identified variable. This research type describes the what, when, where, or how of phenomena. An example of this would be to study the different income levels of those who can purchase a new car model.

Correlational Research

Correlational research looks for a connection or relationship between two or more variables with the help of statistical data. This type of research requires the interpretation of numerical data and patterns to conclude. An easy example of correlational research could be crime rates and warmer temperatures to look for the basis of criminal behaviors.

Research Design, correlational research graph example, StudySmarterCorrelational research, flaticon.com

Causal/Comparative Research

Causal/Comparative research seeks to define a cause and effect in its data collection. There are some key differences with this research type. For example, the researcher doesn't use a randomly chosen control group but the naturally grouped or pre-existing one. Also, while there is an independent variable, this variable is not manipulated by the researcher. An example of this could be comparing the early enrollments into preschool for children and possible social maturity levels.

Experimental Research

Experimental research aims to identify and control all variables but one. The identified independent variable will be manipulated to determine the effects on the dependent variables. An example could be looking at the effect of a new treatment plan for cancer.

Qualitative Research Design

A qualitative is different from a quantitative research design. Results of qualitative research are based on different types of data collection. Qualitative research aims to explore the meanings and perspectives of the people being studied, how social and cultural aspects and views shape the perspectives, and the "specific processes" used to maintain these phenomena (Maxwell, 2012). Qualitative research is considered more inductive in contrast to the quantitative research design, which involves numerical data.

Qualitative Research Design Data Collection

There are several methods of data collection in qualitative research.

Observations

Observation most often happens in scenarios; in a naturalistic place (in public) and a laboratory setting. This type of data collection is used to observe behaviors or scenarios. It is essential to have thorough field notes for later reference. Inter-coder reliability is an excellent tool for researchers to use when confirming data collection. Inter-coder reliability is when more than one observer is used to ensure validity. It should be noted that too many observers can disrupt subjective interpretation.

Interviews

As part of the research, interviewing can be an excellent way to gather data. Interviews can help filter or gather more information missed in the observation portion of data collection. This type of data collection allows for rich data to be collected. Rich data can be more detailed and descriptive to help supplement field notes written previously.

Focus groups

Another way to gather information for qualitative research is through focus groups. In a focus group, a trained mediator conducts an interview collectively. Those within the focus group have similar backgrounds and demographic attributes, or a culmination of both.

Research Design, focus group as a type of data collection, StudySmarter Focus groups, flaticoin.com.

Naturally occurring data

Naturally occurring data is a straightforward way of gathering data. Researchers can gather data simply by observing behaviors and social interactions. However, this type of data is open to much interpretation.

Qualitative Methods

There are several methods for conducting qualitative research that aim toward theory development.

Grounded Theory

Grounded theory is a way of measurably analyzing data in qualitative research. It ensures creating guidelines and validity with the use of empirical data. Grounded theory creates sequential guidelines, offers strategies for inquiry, makes data collection and analysis more efficient, all of which give validity and legitimacy to qualitative research (Temple Uni, 2022). Because of these more regulated steps, grounded theory is the go-to approach in social research.

Thematic Analysis

This is yet another way to analyze qualitative research data. The thematic analysis compares the gathered data to past research to find similar themes. For example, a researcher will compare and analyze their data in comparison to the hypothesis proposed in a previous study. This should not be confused with correlational research.

Discourse Analysis

Discourse analysis focuses on the language or social contexts used in data gathering (for example, in focus groups and interviews). This type of analysis is essentially "reading between the lines" of a conversation or discourse during data collection.

Research Design, discourse analysis focuses on the language, StudySmarterDiscourse, flaticoin.com.

Research Design - Key takeaways

  • Research design in psychology includes data collection, analysis, and interpretation of results.
  • Quantitative research design follows the same principles as the scientific research method.
  • Quantitative research - forming a hypothesis, collecting data, performing analysis, forming a conclusion based on data.
  • Correlational research looks for a connection or relationship between two or more variables with the help of statistical data.
  • Qualitative research aims to explore the meanings and perspectives of the people being studied and how social and cultural aspects and views shape the perspectives. The researchers use "specific processes" to maintain these phenomena.
  • Qualitative methods - grounded theory, thematic analysis, discourse analysis.

Frequently Asked Questions about Research Design

Quantitative research design follows the same principles as the scientific research method:

- deductive reasoning and the formation of a hypothesis

- data collection 

- analysis 

- forming conclusions about the hypothesis. 

There are qualitative and quantitative research designs.

Qualitative is different from quantitative research design. Results of qualitative research are based on different types of data collection. Quantitative research design follows the same principles as the scientific research method. It starts with deductive reasoning and the formation of a hypothesis.

 Qualitative research design focuses on the whys and hows of the researched phenomena. The goal is to understand the meanings and perspectives of the people being studied, how the perspectives are shaped by social and cultural aspects and views, and the "specific processes" used to maintain these phenomena (Maxwell, 2012). Qualitative research is considered to be more inductive with its approach in contrast to the quantitative research design which involves numerical data. 


Quantitative research design follows the same principles as the scientific research method. It starts with deductive reasoning and the formation of a hypothesis. After that, researchers collect and analyze data. Finally, they draw conclusions based on the data results. 

Final Research Design Quiz

Question

What are sampling methods used for?

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Sampling methods are techniques used to collect a specific sample of participants that are relevant to the target population of a study. 

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What are the four types of sampling methods?

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Stratified random, cluster, convenience, and quota sampling methods.

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Describe quota sampling.

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Participants are selected through convenience, but are filtered to ensure they meet the representative criteria of the population.

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Describe convenience sampling.

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Convenience sampling is the collection of a sample through any means available and without a strategy.

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Describe cluster sampling.

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Cluster sampling uses smaller groups than the population to collect a representative sample.

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Describe stratified random sampling.

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Uses subgroups/strata of the given population while accounting for the different dimensions of the population.

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A research team wants to conduct a study on income levels in the state of Texas. Which sampling method should they use?

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Cluster sampling method.

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Convenience sampling is the most valid and accurate sampling method. True or False?

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False. It is the least accurate and valid of the four.

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A class is conducting a study on personalities within their university. They have no financial resources for this study and have very little time to turn in their results. In this case what would be the appropriate sampling method?

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Convenience sampling method.

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What are some cons of stratified random sampling?

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Difficult to compute statistically, takes more time.

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What type of error occurs when the researcher selects participants, or only interested volunteers participate? 

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Selection bias/error

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What are the cons of cluster sampling?

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Potential underrepresentation, result in possible biases

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Stratified sampling method is very time-efficient and simple to analyze. True or false?

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False

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Quota sampling collects participants out of convenience but ensures the sample is representative. True or false?

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True

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What is a non-response error?

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Lack of willing participants leads to a sample that is not completely representative of the target population.

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______ in psychology means that there is a collection of data, analysis of data, and interpretation of results.

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Research design

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________ design follows the same principles as the scientific research method.

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Quantitative research

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The basis of the ________ research type is to describe the status of an identified variable.


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descriptive

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This research type looks to describe the what, when, where, or how of phenomena.


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Descriptive research

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______ research looks for a connection or relationship between two or more variables of statistical data.


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Correlational

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______ research requires the interpretation of numerical data and patterns.


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Correlational 

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________ research seeks to define a cause and effect in its data collection.

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Causal/Comparative

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______ research aims to identify and control all variables but one.

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Experimental

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_______ most often happens in two types of scenarios; in a naturalistic place (in public) and laboratory setting.

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Observation

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_________ is when more than one observer is used to ensure validity.

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Inter-coder reliability

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_____ methods are grounded theory, thematic analysis, discourse analysis.

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Qualitative

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_____ analysis explores the language or social contexts used in data collection.

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Discourse

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_________  is the type of data researchers collect by observing behaviors and social interactions.

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Naturally occurring data

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______ theory creates sequential guidelines, offers strategies for inquiry, makes data collection analysis more efficient, all of which give validity and legitimacy to qualitative research.

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Grounded

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The ______ analysis compares gathered data to past research to find similar themes.

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thematic

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What is random sampling?

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Random sampling is a research method that is used for picking participants for a study out of a population. 

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What is simple random sampling?

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Simple random sampling is a method where each item or person in a population has an exactly equal probability of being selected. 

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What is systematic random sampling?

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Systematic sampling is a method that uses intervals in the selection process. 

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What is stratified random sampling?

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In stratified sampling the population is split up into groups based on distinct characteristics, after which the researcher randomly selects participants in each group. 

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What is clustered sampling?

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Clustered random sampling uses clusters. It is similar to stratified random sampling; however, the population is split into many subgroups.

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Why is random sampling important?

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Among other things, it helps reduce bias. 

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Why is random sampling important? 

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Among other things, it does not require the researcher to have much technical knowledge. 

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Why is random sampling important? 

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Among other things, using random sampling ensures that the data is well-informed.

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Why is random sampling important? 

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Among other things, it allows for creating a smaller sample from a large population.

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Stratified sampling is usually ____ robust than simple.

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More

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Random sample variability is _____ when using larger sample sizes.

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Less

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Replacement refers to ____?

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Replacing the participant of the population back to the population after being selected.

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Is replacement important in large populations?

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No

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I have a population of 6000 people, and I split them up by age before picking a sample. This is an example of:

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Stratified sampling

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If i have a group of 1 million people in alphabetical order and I sample them by selecting every 100th person, this is an example of:

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Systematic sampling

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What is the definition of a hypothesis? 

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A hypothesis is an idea or guess of what will happen, that a researcher has before completing any actual studies or data collection.

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What is an example of a hypothesis? 

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The blue car will go faster than the red car. 

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"In people with GAD who have not responded to low-intensity psychological interventions, CBT will lead to a greater improvement in their GAD symptoms as measured using the GAD-7 scale at 12-month follow-up than Sertraline." is an example of a? 

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Aim

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Does the formulation of a hypothesis occur before or after research has been completed and data has been assessed? 

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Before. 

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What is a hypothesis based on? 

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The hypothesis is usually based on the information we have at our disposal before completing a study. In other words, it is an educated guess. 

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