Research Design, Data Collection Techniques and Selection of Subjects

Once the problem has been carefully defined, the researcher needs to establish the plan that will outline the investigation to be carried out. The research design indicates the steps that will be taken and in what sequence they occur.

There are two main types of research design:

1.    Exploratory research

2.    Conclusive research itself subdivided into

Each of these types of research design can rely on one or more data collection techniques:

  1. Primary research
        -    Observation technique

        -    Direct communication with subjects, e.g. survey technique , interview or projective methods

  1. Secondary research , which essentially means reviewing literature and data sources, collected for some other purpose than the study at hand.

Irrespective of the data collection technique used, it is critical that the researcher analyze it for its validity and reliability .

Another critical consideration in determining a study’s methodology is selection of subjects. If the researcher decides to study all elements within a population, s/he is in fact conducting a census. Although this may be ideal, it may not be very practical and can be far too costly. The alternative is to select a sample from the population. If chosen correctly, it is considered to be representative of the population. In this case, we are dealing with one of the probability sampling techniques. If the sample is not representative, then one of the non-probability sampling techniques was employed.

When research is written up as a part of a newspaper article, there should always be an indication as to the methodology employed, as is the case with the attached article.