Design research Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Methods Research Design

Research Design

Design research is a type of research using qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approach that lead specifically to procedures in research design.  Others refer to it as a research strategy (Denzin & Lincoln, 2011).  The designs available to researchers have evolved over the years as computer technology has advanced data analysis and the ability to analyze complex models.

Research strategies related to quantitative research are those that use the post-positivist research paradigm of psychology.  This includes true experiments and less rigorous experiments called quasi-experiments.  

An additional experimental design is applied to behavioral analysis or single-subject experiments in which the experimental experiment, is administered over time to a single individual or a small number of individuals (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007; Neuman < & McCormick, 1995).

One type of non-experimental quantitative research is causal-comparative research in which the researcher compares two or more groups in relation to the causes (or independent variables) that have occurred.  

Another form of non-experimental research is the correlational design in which the researcher uses correlational statistics to describe and measure the degree of relationship (or relationship) between two or more variables or sets of scores (Creswell, 2012).

This design has been broken down into more complex relationships between variables found in structural equation modeling techniques, hierarchical linear modeling, and logistic regression.  More recently, quantitative strategies have involved complex experiments with many variables and treatments (e.g., factorial designs.

Alternative Research Designs (Creswell. 2014)


  1. Experimental design
  2. Non-experimental designs, such as surveys


  1. Phenomenological narrative research
  2. Grounded theory
  3. Ethnography
  4. Case study

 Mixed Methods

  1. Convergence
  2. Order of explanation
  3. Sequential exploration
  4. Transformative, embedded, or multiphase

There are several types of research below:

Survey research provides a quantitative or numerical description of a population's trends, attitudes, or opinions by studying a sample of that population.  These include cross-sectional and longitudinal studies using questionnaires or structured interviews for data collection with a view to generalizing from a sample to a population (Fowler, 2008).

Experimental research seeks to determine whether a particular treatment affects outcomes.  The researcher assesses this by giving special treatment to one group and withholding it from the other group and then determining how both groups rate an outcome.  

Experiments include true experiments, with random assignment of subjects to treatment conditions, and quasi-experiments that use non-random assignments (Keppel, 1991).  Included in the quasi-experiment is a single-subject design.

 Phenomenological research is an inquiry design originating from philosophy and psychology in which the researcher describes an individual's life experience with a phenomenon as described by the research subject.  Grounded theory is an investigative design from sociology in which the researcher derives a general and abstract theory of a process, action, or interaction based on the views of the participants.

 Ethnography is a design inquiry derived from anthropology and sociology in which researchers study shared patterns of behavior, language, and actions of intact cultural groups in natural settings over long periods of time.  Data collection often involves observation and interviews.

 A case study is an inquiry design found in many fields, especially evaluation, in which the researcher develops an in-depth analysis of a case, often a program, event, activity, process, or one or more individuals.

 Often there is a distinction between qualitative and quantitative research in that research is framed in terms of using words (qualitative) rather than numbers (quantitative), or using closed questions (quantitative hypotheses) rather than open questions (qualitative interview questions).  

A more complete way of looking at the gradation of differences between them is in the basic philosophical assumptions the researcher brings to the study, the types of research strategies used in the research (e.g., quantitative experiments or qualitative case studies), and the specific methods used in carrying out these strategies (e.g., collecting quantitative data on the instrument versus collecting qualitative data through setting observations).  therefore Creswell (201) defines the following types of research:

Qualitative research

Qualitative research is an approach to exploring and understanding the meaning of individuals or groups that are considered social or human problems.  The research process involves questions and procedures that arise, data is usually collected in a participant setting, data analysis is inductively constructed from particulars to general themes, and the researcher makes interpretations of the meaning of the data.  The final written report has a flexible structure.

Quantitative research

Quantitative research is an approach that aims to test the theory objectively by looking at the relationship between research variables.  In stages, these variables can be measured, usually by using research instruments.  So that these data can be analyzed using statistics, which have a set of structures from introduction, literature and theory studies, research methods, analysis, and discussion.

Mixed Methods Research

Mixed methods research is a research approach that involves collecting quantitative and qualitative data, combining two forms of data, and using a research design simultaneously.  This form of research assumes that a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches provides a more complete understanding of the research problem than using only one research approach.


Creswell, J. W. (2014).  A concise introduction to mixed methods research.  SAGE publications.

Creswell, J. W. (2014).  Research Design, Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods.  SAGE publications.

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