Research Design


Research design provides the glue that holds the research project together. A design is used to structure the research, to show how all of the major parts of the research project โ€” the samples or groups, measures, treatments or programs, and methods of assignment โ€” work together to try to address the central research questions. Here, after a brief introduction to research design, I’ll show you how we classify the major types of designs. You’ll see that a major distinction is between the experimental designs that use random assignment to groups or programs and the quasi-experimental designs that don’t use random assignment. [People often confuse what is meant by random selection with the idea of random assignment. You should make sure that you understand the distinction between random selection and random assignment.] Understanding the relationships among designs is important in making design choices and thinking about the strengths and weaknesses of different designs. Then, I’ll talk about the heart of the art form of designing designs for research and give you some ideas about how you can think about the design task. Finally, I’ll consider some of the more recent advances in quasi-experimental thinking โ€” an area of special importance in applied social research and program evaluation.

Next topic ยป

Knowledge Base written by Prof William M.K. Trochim. Changes and additions by This page was last modified on 11 Jan 2020.

ยฉ 2020,, Sydney, Australia. ABN 56 616 169 021. For legal and data protection questions, please refer to Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.