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Research Process: Research design

This guide gives a full overview of all the aspects of the research process and where to get assistance.

Research design

Explanation of the elements of research design

The length and complexity of research designs can vary considerably, but any sound design will do the following things:

  1. Identify the research problem clearly and justify its selection,
  2. Review previously published literature associated with the problem area,
  3. Clearly and explicitly specify hypotheses [i.e., research questions] central to the problem selected,
  4. Effectively describe the data which will be necessary for an adequate test of the hypotheses and explain how such data will be obtained, and
  5. Describe the methods of analysis which will be applied to the data in determining whether or not the hypotheses are true or false.
Research Design          
Research Methodology
Focuses on the end product: what kind of study is being planned and what kind of results are aimed at.  
Focuses on the research process and the kind of tools and procedures to be used                                     
For example: Historical - comparative study, interpretive approach or exploratory study, inductive and deductive, etc.
For exmple: Document analysis, survey methods, analysis of existing (secondary) data/statistics etc.
Point of departure (driven by) = Research problem or question.
Point of departure (driven by) = Specific tasks (data collection or sampling) at hand.
Focuses on the logic of research: What evidence is required to address the question adequately?                                                       Focuses on the individual (not linear) steps in the research process and the most ‘objective’ (unbiased) procedures to be employed.
Source: Mouton, J (2001). How to succeed in your master's and doctoral studies: a South African guide book. Pretoria:Van Schaik.