Get Acquainted With Types of Research Design -  Succeed in Research Paper Writing

Get Acquainted With Types of Research Design -  Succeed in Research Paper Writing
Table of Contents
  1. Get Acquainted With Types of Research Design -  Succeed in Research Paper Writing
  2. What is the research design and its purpose
  3. Importance of research design
  4. Common research structure
  5. 5 common types of research design
  6. 1. Descriptive
  7. 2. Correlational
  8. 3. Experimental
  9. 4. Explanatory
  10. 5. Diagnostic
  11. 4 types of research design by grouping
  12. 1. Cohort
  13. 2. Cross-sectional
  14. 3. Cross-sequential
  15. 4. Longitudinal
  16. Research design approaches
  17. 1. Qualitative
  18. 2. Quantitative
  19. 3. Practical or mixed
  20. Fixed vs flexible research design
  21. Fixed research
  22. 1. Experimental
  23. 2. Non-experimental
  24. 3. Quasi-experimental
  25. Flexible research
  26. 1. Case study
  27. 2. Ethnographic study
  28. 3. Grounded theory

Being a college student, you should be able to deal with any type of academic paper since it affects the overall academic performance. If you know the research design peculiarities and its types, that means that you know the fundamentals of research essay writing as it is a plan of answering the research question. To save time to search for the necessary information about the common types of research paper ideas and different design approaches that are necessary while writing a research paper, you can read this guide and find everything needed in one place. This academic guide has been prepared by our highly experienced writers who can assist you with any questions left.

What is the research design and its purpose 

The research design determines the overall plan for answering the research question. To put it differently, it is a strategy chosen by a student to combine different parts of the research paper coherently and logically. The purpose of such a research paper part is in planning the solution to the research problem fully and clearly.

Importance of research design 

It is highly important to use a research design to ensure the effectiveness of addressing the research problem and the analysis of data. Research design is a useful technique for reducing inaccuracy, as it helps to reach maximum reliability. Also, it is important to create a quality research design to eliminate research bias, therefore minimizing the possibility of time wastage. Apart from that, it is highly useful for collecting primary research materials as it provides quality ideas regarding the type of sources needed for the particular research topic. As a result, the research design serves as a guide for the research to follow the right direction.

 Common research structure 

While the research paper writing does not come naturally to a majority of students, knowledge of the typical research paper structure simplifies this process. The most basic common research paper structure consists of the Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion parts. However, taking a closer look at the typical research paper outline, there should be the following parts involved indeed:

  • Cover Page
  • An abstract 
  • Introduction & statement of the research problem
  • Limitations of the study
  • Discussion of the research methodology 
  • The main body of the argument

5 common types of research design 

There are various ways to classify the types of research designs. As far as research designs refer to the arrangement of the collection, there are different classifications applied. We have outlined the most important five types listed below.

        1. Descriptive 

Descriptive research designs usually aim to describe a population or some phenomenon systematically. Therefore, such research design uses answers to questions What, Where, How, and When. Among the most popular examples of descriptive research, design are case-studies, naturalistic observations, or some surveys.

        2. Correlational 

The term correlational research refers to the type of non-experimental research method, which is focused on the measurement of two variables. Measuring different variables gives the opportunity to understand and assess the existing statistical relationship between both. As a result, there is no need for any extraneous variable.

        3. Experimental

An experimental design is one of the design types that involves repeated measures, matched pair designs, and independent groups. In other words, it shows how the participants of the experiment are allotted to various experimental groups. In case the research uses a scientific approach in order to manipulate several variables and measure the defects, the researcher uses an experimental design. By contrast, the absence of the control variables manipulation will mean that the researcher uses a non-experimental research type of research.  

        4. Explanatory 

If you are writing a research paper about a problem that was not widely researched before, it is better to choose an explanatory research design to conduct for such a problem. An explanatory design is useful in demanding priorities, generating the weight of an object, and producing a better-researched model. To put it differently, this research design is totally focused on providing a detailed explanation of the study's aspects.

        5. Diagnostic 

Suppose you need to quantify an added contribution of the test beyond its results that are available to the physician. In that case, it is better for you to use a diagnostic research design. This type of research design is very useful for the research papers assigned in Medical Sciences since the research design mentioned above helps determine the disease condition. 

4 types of research design by grouping 

There are four main types of research design by grouping, which are cohort, cross-sectional, cross-sequential, and longitudinal designs. To choose the best option for your research, you should get acquainted with the role and the nature of each of the types mentioned above. Knowing the benefits of each design type, it would be easier for you to do quality in-depth research.  

people in the process of making experiements

        1. Cohort 

A cohort research design group is a form of a longitudinal study. Such study samples a cohort, which means a group of individuals who have some defining characteristics. In other words, a cohort refers typically to those who experienced one common event in the same period of time. 

        2. Cross-sectional 

A cross-sectional research design refers to the use of observational analysis in order to examine data of variables. During such research, variables are collected at one given point across a sample population. Also, such a design type is known as cross-sectional analysis, prevalence study, or transverse study.

        3. Cross-sequential 

A cross-sequential design, also known as cohort-sequential, combines a longitudinal design and a cross-sectional design in one research study. Such a plan for answering the research problem aims to correct some of the issues inherent in both cross-sectional and longitudinal research designs. Such a dual research design gives the opportunity to examine, for example, multiple age or gender groups in a short period of time. 

        4. Longitudinal 

The longitudinal research design type is based on correlational research. Such research uses the method of looking at variables over a long period of time, like weeks, months, years, or even decades. A longitudinal study is effective in discovering the relationships between two or more variables unrelated to background variables. In other words, it is a kind of observational technique that is focused on studying the same object over an extended period. As a result, research data is collected several times during the research, at the study's outset, and several times repeatedly gathered throughout the whole length of the research. 


Research design approaches 

Research design approaches serve as detailed methods for effective data collection, analysis, and further interpretation. The three most common approaches effective for conducting research are qualitative research, quantitative research, and mixed design approaches. The use of such approaches gives a student an opportunity to anticipate the type of data necessary to respond to the chosen research question.

     1. Qualitative

The qualitative research design approach focuses on data collection through conversational communication. Such method is effective just in case the open-ended or conversational communication that provides answers to “what” the participant thinks and “why” he/she thinks so is enough to answer the research question.

     2. Quantitative 

The quantitative research design approach refers to subjects that are usually measured once or to subjects that were measured before or after the treatment. As a result, this approach uses either descriptive data or experimental. 

     3. Practical or mixed

The nature of the practical or mixed design approach is to use an emergent research methodology that will advance the mix of qualitative and quantitative data collection within one investigation. According to such an approach, data is integrated during analysis, collection, and discussion.


Fixed vs flexible research design 

There is an immense distinction between fixed and flexible research designs. In fixed design, all the data is generally numerical, and the design of a survey is pre-planned. The main focus is placed on the measure and comparison of variables. In a flexible research design, the information is usually non-numerical, and there are no restrictions during the data accumulation. The planning does not take so much time, and the aspects of the study are flexible.

Fixed research 

Fixed research design collects selected data and statistics. Students use such type of analysis to outline variables, investigate the connection between them, and establish causes and effects among variables. There are the following types of fixed designs: quantitative cross-sectional, which makes statistics about the population, discrete choice experiments that evaluate the importance of decision making, and longitudinal design that refers to trend analysis.

        1. Experimental 

Experimental research design uses surveys that are abiding by a scientific study. According to this type of research design, students estimate the cause-effect relationship between the independent and dependent variables. In most cases, experimental researches are conducted in a laboratory to take accurate measurements. Besides, the researcher can also do the survey in field settings. This type of research method is frequently used in the social and physical sciences.

        2. Non-experimental 

Non-experimental research design is a type of study that does not involve the manipulation of the independent variable. The research measures variables as they exist by nature without any artificial aid. Students should use this type of investigation in case the research question is broad-ranging, belongs to a single variable, provokes a particular experience, or concerns non-causal relations between variables.

        3. Quasi-experimental 

Quasi-experimental research design determines cause and effect relations among variables. Such studies display causality between interventions and results. The key point is that students can use quasi-experimental methods looking back on past studies - before and after the intervention. Such methods are often utilized in psychotherapy. There are a lot of surveys that are conducted to estimate the effectiveness of treatment.

Flexible research 

Many students prefer flexible research papers, as they are characterized by a flexible design. In its turn, flexible design allows students to interim even the feedback that may change a trial or experiment. As a result, the sampling methodology used for the analysis can also become subject to change.

        1. Case study

Case studies are one of the most popular research papers among the so-called flexible researches. Such type of research is typically used in such subjects as life or social sciences. By the way, it can also be a task from any other discipline as it is an intensive paper about the particular unit, person, situation where the researcher analyses data related to several variables. By collecting diverse data types, qualitative and quantitative,  a student gets a deeper insight into the research problem. 

        2. Ethnographic study 

Ethnographic research is based on a detailed description of a culture outside the country of origin of the researcher. To put it differently, this method refers to the use of observation and interviewing in order to study people in a familiar environment for them.

        3. Grounded theory 

The grounded theory refers to the methodology that uses the collection of data and its analysis for the creation of the hypothesis for the research paper. This is the most popular approach used by social scientists in qualitative research. 


Knowledge of the research design and its types helps to gain the fundamentals of research essay writing by providing a detailed plan of solving the research problem. You should be able to distinguish the best fitting research design, whether it should be cohort, cross-sectional, cross-sequential, or longitudinal design, or whether it is better to use fixed or flexible designs, for data collection needed to answer the research question in your study. If you have any questions about the research design left, you can apply for the academic assistance of our experts any time you like.