This design enables the researcher to assess the degree of relationship that exists between two or more variables. It analyzes .the correlation between two or more variables (Orodho, 2003). For example, if you compare the examination performance of a group of university. students who prepare their own meals everyday and those who eat at the cafeteria, you will use a correlation design. Suppose the academic performance of students who prepare their own meals is lower than those who eat at the cafeteria, then you may deduce that preparation of meals by students has an impact on their academic performance. However, you might not be able to prove conclusively that the poor performance was caused by time used for cooking. Nevertheless, if you have carefully controlled other possible variables that might produce the difference, then a causal relationship exists. The use-of correlation research designs will enable you to map out the relationship between two or more educational variables.
A case study seeks to describe a unit in detail, in context and holistically. It is a way of organizing educational data and looking at the object to be studied as a whole. In a case study, a great deal can be learned from a few examples of the phenomena under study. For example, The impact of pay-as-you-eat on education: A case study of Kenyatta University. A study of Kenyatta University can allow an in-depth investigation of the problem at hand. It will bring about deeper insights and better understanding of the problems faced by students. You should use case study design if you intend to analyze an issue in detail. Ensure that you have justified why you selected a case study.
This is used to compare the behavior patterns of different cultures. Using this design you can perceive how various cultures perceive certain educational and social outcomes. For example, you can compare the performance of students in English in rural and urban schools and find out to what extent cultural variations influence performance.
Steps to Follow n Selecting a Research Design
Below are some of the steps a researcher should follow while selecting a research design:
- Identify the kind of research you intend to carry out. Being aware of the purpose and objectives of your study and your theoretical foundations will considerably influence how you design your research: where you go, for how long, with whom you talk, and the kind of questions you ask. Deciding if you intend to test or elaborate existing theory or are trying to build a new, grand theory, or are using existing theory in a new way, has implications in the kind of information you need to collect.
- Use the library to analyze samples of research designs from books and periodicals. The Internet is another option.
- Discuss with colleagues on the validity and reliability of your research and make a decision on what design will assist in answering your research questions appropriately.
Qualities of Effective Research Design
- They are systematic and logical. They effectively address the questions raised in the study. Based on this design the researcher can construct questions that will solicit the desired information.
- They contribute to accurate and fair interpretation of results.
- They clarify to the researcher the respondents and the means by which the study will be conducted-
- They contribute to deeper insights and better understanding of the research topic.
The following are essential points that researchers should adhere to while selecting a research design:
- Identify the research questions to be addressed by the study: The researcher should identify and reflect on the research questions raised in the study. Reflection should include brainstorming on issues such as:
- Do the questions raised in the study require systematic manipulation of independent and dependent variables? If the answer is yes, then the researcher will use an experimental design.
- Does the study require the researcher to assess the degree of relationship between two or more variables? If the answer is positive then a correlation design will be used.
- Does the study seek to describe a unit in detail? If so then a case study design will be used.
- Does the study seek to compare the behaviour patterns of different cultures? If the answer is positive then a cross-cultural researclti4esign will be applicable.
- b) After identifying the research design to be used, read materials related to that design to understand its advantages and disadvantages. –
Indicate the research design pointing out its validity and reliability to the current research.