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Research Project Proposal Vs Research Design

1. Research Design

Research design refers to the process of making the plan for conducting the research. This stage of the research can be considered as the planning phase where in the researcher reads in detail about the research problem with the aid of books, journals, research publications/ reports and other related literature. The research design in defined as follows:

“A design is general strategy for conducting research study. the nature of hypothesis, the variables involved, and the constraints of the “real world” all contribute to the selection of the design”

Gay and Airasian (2000)

“Decisions regarding what?, where?, when?, how much?, by what? means concerning an inquiry or a research study constitute research design”

Kothari (1988)

Hence, research design is an outline of what the researcher shall do to conduct the research; from writing down the objectives – hypothesis – data collection & analysis – report writing and conclusion.

The research design is based on the type of the study:

  • Descriptive – based on mostly secondary data
  • Empirical – based on mostly primary data
  • Experimental – based on experiment that measures the cause and effect

The research design should be able to convey the following information

  1. What is the study about?
  2. Where will the study be carried out?
  3. What type of data is necessary?
  4. Where is the necessary data available?
  5. How much time is needed to complete the study?
  6. What will be the sampling design?
  7. Which tools will be identified to collect data?
  8. How data will be analysed?

The research methodology is an important consideration at this point. The research methodology is the knowledge of how to use various techniques for collecting and analysing data. Broadly the methods varies based on whether the nature of study is quantitative or qualitative. the research methodology is summarized in the following chart.

Sample design is yet another important aspect of the research design.

Characteristic s of good sample design are; 
  1. Must result in a truly representative sample, 
  2. Must be such which results in a small sampling error, 
  3. Must be viable in the context of funds available for the research study,
  4. Must be such so that systematic bias can be controlled,
  5. Results of the sample study can be applied, in general the universe with a reasonable level of confidence.

2.Research Proposal

Research proposal is the blueprint or plan of work finalised by the researcher in consultation with the guide.

The purpose of research proposal

  1. It communicates the researcher’s plan
  2. It serves as a plan of action
  3. Its an agreement between researcher and the guide
  4. It can help to get refinement of ideas from the experts

2.1.Structure of Research Proposal

  • Introduction/ Theoretical framework/ conceptual framework – There should be a logical sequence in the section highlighting the objectives of the study.
    • Identification of the problem (topic)
    • Extensive literature review – Careful study about the research topic/ research problem via, books, journals, research reports. On basis of the study, the researcher should be able to conclude the following:
      1. What has been done so far in this area?
      2. Where? [area or location wise]
      3. When? [Yearwise]
      4. How? [Methodology Wise]
      5. What needs to be done?
    • The conclusion reveals the “research gap” which can help find the rational for the study.
  • Rationale and need for the study – The researcher has to define ‘why’ the study is required.
  • Definition of terms – The theoretical as well as the operational terms may be defined for clarity. For example the term achievement can have different meaning according to the context.
  • Variables has to be identified and defined
  • Research questions, objectives & hypothesis
    • Objectives – Aim of the research clearly defined. This gives direction to the research as well as prevents ambiguity and confusions.
    • Hypothesis – Formulation of hypothesis is a clear indication that researcher has sufficient knowledge in the area and also gives direction for data collection and analysis. A good hypothesis should be (a.) testable, (b.)have explanatory power, (c.) state expected relationship between variables, (d.) be consistent with existing body of knowledge.
  • Assumptions – These are statements of what the researcher believes to be facts but cannot verify.
  • Scope, Limitation and delimitations – In any research, it is not possible to cover all the aspects of the area of interest, variables, population and so on. Hence every study has limitations. Limitation are those conditions beyond the control of the researcher that may play restriction on conclusions. Sometimes, the tool used is not revalidated, which becomes a limitation. Delimitation refers to the boundaries of the study.
  • Method, Sample & tools – Refer Fig 1 & Fig 2
  • Techniques of Data Analysis
  • Bibliography
  • Time frame
  • Budget
Nehru, R. S. S., & Suryanarayana, N. V. S. (2020). Research Methodology. New Delhi: APH Publishing Corporation .

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