The research design is the central organizing feature of a research study. It specifies the decision-making processes, conceptual structure, and methods of analysis used to address the central research problem of your study. A research design is the most important part of your study. You must make sure to select the best design for your study. The purpose of designing a research study or experiment is to make it possible to answer key questions about the topic at hand. If a research design is not selected properly, you run the risk of making mistakes because there are different types of mistakes associated with each type of design. This article has the list of common flaws within research designs and how they can be avoided.
To understand how the research design is affected by various influences that can produce certain flaws in the study, we must first explore the elements of research design that are prone to errors.
The Common Design Flaws
Ill-defined Research Problem: This the starting point of most research and a comprehensive research design consists of a clear research problem that sets the framework for the development of research questions which can enable the researcher to address the problem that will be pursued in the research. This will also have an impact on the type of research design that you will be choosing, making it an essential step.
Invalid Theoretical Framework: The theoretical framework is the structure that can hold or support a theory of a research study. The theoretical framework introduces and describes the theory which explains why the research problem under study exists. Lack of a logical hypothesis will render the research design useless because it cannot be tested and provide universal results leaving your research flawed.
Lack of Specificity: A concise and clear research design provides a strong structure to your research. Most aspects of the research design are vulnerable to generalization and this should be prevented with in-depth yet precise and definite terms that describe the process of study in a conclusive form.
Issues with Literature Review: In any research design, the link between past research and your present study is a necessity to be explored. The literature review is not to be a mere summary or narration of the past research but should specifically establish a relationship between what has been studied and what your research will improve upon. This identification of the research gap can only be accomplished with a comprehensive literature review which also addresses how your research will either fill that existing gap or challenge a finding or assumption that is faulty from previous research.
Flaws in Methodology: The research design should fundamentally explore in detail the tools and methods for data collection and how the collected data will be analyzed in the research. The approach to this is largely guided by the quantitative or qualitative or mixed method of research that the researcher has employed. However, if your research does not utilize the best tools, most current and accepted survey methods and provide clear justification to why a certain method has been chosen and how it will affect the quality of data. The research design can also be affected by the quality of the instruments and techniques used to collect the data.
Statistical Inaccuracies:The quality of your quantitative study is heavily influenced by the statistical quality of your research work. The research has to be scientifically accurate and proper statistical methods have to be employed while analyzing the data. The research design will be flawed if there is a failure to describe how you have organized the raw data for analysis, including the selected methods of statistical analysis that you will be using to analyze the data to derive meaningful interpretations and key trends or patterns found within the data.
Ethical Problems: The research design should clearly indicate how your study will address and redress any risk for your participants while you are gathering data, especially for qualitative research. This description should also entail how while trying to minimize the risk the quality of data gathered will not be impacted and how the research problem can be successfully addressed while maintaining the validity and objectivity of your study.
Proximity sampling: Your research can be heavily impacted by biases in sampling. Proximity sampling is a common sampling error that affects the quality of your research design. This error occurs when researchers choose members merely based on proximity and don’t consider whether they represent the entire population or not and this is merely based on convenience and ease of access because of geographical proximity, availability at a given time, or willingness to participate in the research.
Provincialism of scope: refers to designing a narrowly applied scope, geographical area, sampling, or method of analysis that is narrowly defined, restricting the relevance of your results. This brings a huge implication to your research considering that the results obtained cannot be generalized or transferred to a different setting which could bring about a question of relevance of the research in wider scope.
There are various other flaws that can impact your research design from unavoidable aspects such as research study limitations and lack of experience and lack of funding or resources but the above mentioned ones can be vastly avoided by researchers when designing their research to protect the validity of your research.