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Week 3 Discussion
A research design is a specific plan or outline that details how a
research question is answered, while a research method refers
to the general strategy or framework to implement the plan
("Research Guides: Research Methods Guide: Research Design &
Method," 2018). It is also worth noting that a research design is
the overall structure of a research study, while research methods
denote the procedures used for data collection and analysis.
While a research design focuses on research plan and expected
results, research methods tend to focus on the most suitable
techniques for data collection and analysis.
There are two types of research methods namely, quantitative
and qualitative. A quantitative research method explains a
phenomenon under study by “collecting numerical data that are
analyzed using mathematically based methods (in particular
statistics)’ (Muijs, 2010). A quantitative research method is
essentially about collection of numerical data, undertaking
statistical analysis, and presenting results numerically using
percentages, ranges, averages, tables, or figures. Most of the
data used in quantitative studies are usually collected through
surveys, questionnaires, or standardized tests. On the other
hand, a qualitative research denotes a methodology for “making
naturalistic inquiry that seeks in-depth understanding of social
phenomena within their natural setting” (Uhealth, 2019).
Qualitative research is especially effective in obtaining culturally
specific information about the values, opinions, behaviors, and
social contexts of populations (Mack, 2005). Qualitative

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methods are also effective in identifying intangible factors, such
as social norms, socioeconomic status, gender roles, ethnicity,
and religion. Most of the data used in qualitative studies are
usually collected through participant observation, focus-group
discussions, and in-depth interviews.
There are various types of research designs namely, action
research, case study, causal, cohort, experimental, cross-
sectional, longitudinal, descriptive, and explorative research
designs. According to De Vaus (2001), the choice of research
design depends on the nature of research question and the
context of research problem. For instance, descriptive research
design is often used to provide answers to “who, what, when,
where, and how” research questions associated with a particular
research problem. It helps a study obtain information
concerning the current status of the phenomena and to describe
"what exists" with respect to variables or conditions in a
situation. On the other hand, an exploratory design is most
suitable when research problem involves a phenomenon with
few evidence, or no earlier studies to refer to. The focus of an
exploratory study is on gaining insights and familiarity for later
investigation or undertaken when problems are in a preliminary
stage of investigation.
Therefore, the process of choosing a correct research method
and a correct research design largely depends on research goal,
research subjects, research problem, and context of the study. A
thumb rule for choosing whether to use qualitative or
quantitative methods is: Use quantitative methods if the study
intends to confirm or test theory or hypothesis; Use qualitative

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Week 3 Discussion A research design is a specific plan or outline that details how a research question is answered, while a research method refers to the general strategy or framework to implement the plan ("Research Guides: Research Methods Guide: Research Design & Method," 2018). It is also worth noting that a research design is the overall structure of a research study, while research methods denote the procedures used for data collection and analysis. While a research design focuses on research plan and expected results, research methods tend to focus on the most suitable techniques for data collection and analysis. There are two types of research methods namely, quantitative and qualitative. A quantitative research method explains a phenomenon under study by “collecting numerical data that are analyzed using mathematically based methods (in particular statistics)’ (Muijs, 2010) ...
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