How To Choose A Research Plan

Research design

Research design is a research plan and procedure that includes: broad assumptions to detailed methods in data collection and analysis. The design involves a number of decisions that, in this book, I have presented though not in a coherent sense in the usual sense. What is clear, on the whole, this decision involves what kind of design should be used to research a particular topic.

For example, in a research proposal, researchers need to make decisions related to the philosophical assumptions underlying their research, the procedures (which are also often referred to as strategies) of the research, and the specific methods they will use in collecting, analyzing, and interpreting the data; 

the selection of a research design also needs to be based on the problem/issue to be studied, the personal experience of the researcher, and the target audience.

Three Types Of Plans

In this book, there are three types of research to be presented: qualitative research, quantitative, and mixed methods. In fact, these three approaches are not as separate from each other as they first appeared. 

Qualitative and quantitative approaches should not be viewed as conflicting antitheses or dichotomies; they simply represent different end results, but remain in one continuum(Newman & Benz, LggS). A study will only be more qualitative quantitative weighing or vice versa. The mixed method research is in the middle of the continuum because this research involves elements of qualitative and quantitative approaches. 

The difference between qualitative and quantitative research is often explained based on its forms that use words (qualitative) and numbers (quantitative) or based on closed questions (quantitative hypothesis) and open questions (qualitative hypothesis). 

In fact, the gradation of differences between the two actually lies in the basic philosophical assumptions brought by the researcher into the examination, the types of research strategies used by the researcher throughout his research(such as quantitative experiment strategies or qualitative strategies), from the specific methods applied by the researcher to implement these strategies (such as quantitative data collection in the form of instruments versus quantitative data collection through field observation).

Moreover, there are historical developments that can distinguish the two approaches. For example, the quantitative approach dominated many forms of research in the social sciences from the early nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century. 

However, since the beginning of the middle of the twentieth century, there has been a strong interest in qualitative research, and at the same time, mixed methods research has grown (see Creswell, 2008, for a more complete history). This historical background can at least be used as a basis for seeking "rigid" definitions of these three key terms, which will be used later in this book:

  1. Qualitative research is a method of exploring and understanding meaning that by a number of individuals or groups of people is considered to be derived from social or humanitarian problems. This qualitative research process involves important efforts, such as asking questions and procedures, collecting specific data from participants, analyzing the data inductively from specific themes to general themes, and interpreting the meaning of the data. The final report for this study has a flexible structure or framework. Anyone involved in this form of research should adopt an inductive research perspective, focusing on individual meaning, and translating the complexity of a problem.
  2. Quantitative research is a method to test certain theories by examining the relationship between variables. These variables are measured usually by research instruments so that data consisting of numbers can be analyzed based on statistical procedures. The final report for this study generally has a strict and consistent structure starting from the introduction, literature review, theoretical basis, research methods, research results, and discussion. (Creswell, 2008). Like qualitative researchers, anyone involved in quantitative research must also have assumptions to deductively test the theory, prevent biases, control alternative explanations, and be able to generalize and reapply their findings.
  3. Mixed method research is a research approach that combines or associates qualitative and quantitative forms. This approach involves philosophical assumptions., application of qualitative and quantitative approaches, and mixing of both approaches in one study. This approach is more complex than just collecting and analyzing two types of data; it also involves the function of the two research approaches collectively so that the overall strength of this research is greater than qualitative and quantitative research (Creswell & PlanoClark,2007).

As we can see, each of the above definitions has its own points of emphasis. For this reason, in this book, I will explain three definitions of each meaning clearly.


Creswell, J.W. (1999) Mixed method research: Introduction and application. In G.J. Cizek (Ed.). Handbook of educational policy (pp. 455-472). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Creswell, J.W. (2007). Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choos¬ing among Five Approaches ( 3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Creswell, J.W. (2008). Educational Research: Ptoming, Conducting and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.
Creswell, J.W. & Brown, M.L. (1992, Fall). How chairpersons enhance faculty research: A grounded theory study. The Review of Higher Education, 16(1), 41-62.
Creswell, J.W., & Miller, D. (2000). Determining validity in qualita¬tive inquiry. Theory into Practice, 39(3), 124-130.
Creswell, J.W. & Piano Clark, V.L. (2007). Designing and Conducting Mixed Methods Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

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