Formulating the research design

  • Defining the research purpose 
    • exploratory
    • experimental 
    • explanatory
  •  Defining the research strategy 
    • experiment 
    • survey
    • case - study
    • archival research  
  • Multiple methods choices
    • quantitative
    • qualitative 
    • mixed-method
  • Time horizons 
    • cross-sectional studies
    • longitudinal
  • Data collection and analysis  


 Exploratory    Descriptive Analytical Predictive 
Exploratory research is undertaken when few or no previous studies exist. The aim is to look for patterns, hypotheses or ideas that can be tested and will form the basis for further research. Typical research techniques would include case studies, observation and reviews of previous related studies and data.  Descriptive research can be used to identify and classify the elements or characteristics of the subject, e.g. number of days lost because of industrial action. Quantitative techniques are most often used to collect, analyze and summarise data.  Analytical research often extends the Descriptive approach to suggest or explain why or how something is happening, e.g. underlying causes of industrial action. An important feature of this type of research is in locating and identifying the different factors (or variables) involved.  The aim of Predictive research is to speculate intelligently on future possibilities, based on close analysis of available evidence of cause and effect, e.g. predicting when and where future industrial action might take place.