Legal research methodology

Research Design

Research design

  • Research design is a detailed outline of how an investigation/research will take place. A research design will typically include how data is to be collected, what instrument will be employed, how the instruments will be used, and the intended means for analyzing data. 
  • P. V. Young has defined it as a plan of action, a plan for collection and analyzing the data in an economical, efficient, and relevant manner. 

Objectives of research design

  • Research design makes the research efficient by planning and formulating an outline of the research work. 
  • The aim is to economize and minimize time, energy, and cost that could have been wasted if it was not present. 
  • It provides an accurate idea of where a researcher has reached in his research journey. 

Questions/considerations that are to be taken in a research design

  • What is the study about? 
  • Why is the studying being made? 
  • Where will the study be carried out? 
  • What type of data is required? 
  • Where can the required data be found? 
  • What period of time will the study include? 
  • What will be the sample design? 
  • What techniques of data collection will be used? 
  • How will the data be analyzed?
  •  In what style will the report be prepared? 

Significance/importance of research design

A research design means a plan or technique of shaping the research. There is following importance for research design:

  • Take less time. 
  • Ensures protect time schedule.
  •  It provides a blueprint of research. 
  • It helps the researcher to prepare himself to carry out research systematically and adequately. 
  • It offers a guide that directs the research activities, which reduces the time and cost. 
  • It helps the researcher to organize his ideas in proper form. 
  • It helps in the use of resources effectively with a fewer number of errors. 
  • It enables the research to control the research operation most effectively. 
Research Design

Need for research design

Research design is needed because it facilitates the smooth sailing of the various research operations, thereby doing research as efficiently as possible yielding maximum information with minimum effort, time, and money. 

The need for research design is as follows:

  • It reduces inaccuracy. 
  • It helps to get maximum efficiency and Reliability.
  •  Eliminate bias and marginal errors.
  •  Minimize wastage of time.
  •  Helpful for collecting research material.
  •  Helpful for testing of hypothesis. 
  • It gives an idea regarding the type of resources required for money, human resources, and efforts.
  •  Provide an overview to other experts.
  •  Guide the research in the right direction. 

Parts of research design

  • Sampling design: it deals with selecting items that should be considered in the research study. 
  • Observation design: it relates to the condition under which observations are to be made. 
  • Statistical design concerns how many items to be observed and how information and data are gathered to be analyzed.
  •  Operational design: it deals with the techniques by which the procedure specified above can be carried out. 

Features of a good research design

  • It should be flexible, appropriate, efficient, and economical. 
  • It should be maximum the Reliability of data collecting and should be maximized bias.
  •  It should give full information that should provide an opportunity to consider different aspects of the research problem.
  •  The design which gives the slightest experimental error is related to being the best design in a scientific investigation.
  •  It should be suitable to the purpose or objective of a research problem.
  •  It should give due weightage to the availability of time, money, the skill of the researcher. 

An important concept relating to research design

  1. Dependent and independent variables
  • variable is a concept that can take different quantitative values. Ex. Weight, height, income, etc.
  •  A dependent variable can be defined as a variable. On the other hand, an independent variable can be defined as the antecedent variable to the dependent variable. 

2. Extraneous variable:  Although the independent variable is unrelated to the study purpose, it might affect the dependent variable, an extraneous variable. Ex: The researcher wants to test the hypothesis that there is a relationship between children’s gain in social studies achievement and self-concept. In this case, self-concept is an independent variable, and social studies achievement is a dependent variable. 

3. Control: The essential quality of a good research design is to reduce the influence or effect of an extraneous variable. 

4. Confounded relationship:  When the dependent variable is not free from the influence of an extraneous variable, the relationship between the dependent and independent variable is confounded by an extraneous variable. 

5. Research hypothesis:  When a prediction or Hypothesized relationship is to be tested by the scientific method, it is termed a research hypothesis. 

6. Experimental and Non-experimental hypothesis testing research:  When the purpose of the research is to test a research hypothesis. It is termed hypothesis-testing research. Research in which the independent variable is manipulated is termed experimental hypothesis-testing research, and research in which an independent variable is not manipulated is called Non-experimental hypothesis-testing research. 

7. Experimental and control group: In experimental hypothesis-testing research, when a group is exposed to usual conditions, it is termed a control group, but it is termed an experimental group when a group is exposed to some novel or particular condition. 

8. Treatments: The different conditions under which experimental and control groups are put are usually referred to as treatment. 

9. Experiment:  Examining the truth of a statistical hypothesis relating to some research problem is known as an experiment. 

10. Experimental units: The pre-determined blocks where different treatments are used are known as experimental units. Such experimental units must be selected very carefully. 

Different research design

Exploratory research studies 

Exploratory research studies are also termed formative research studies. Such studies’ primary purpose is to formulate a problem for more precise investigation or develop the working hypothesis from an operational point of view; the primary emphasis in such studies is on the discovery of ideas and insights. 

Descriptive and Diagnostic research studies 

Descriptive research studies are concerned with describing the characteristics of a particular individual or a group, whereas diagnostic research studies determine the frequency with which something else occurs or its association with something else. 

The design in such studies must be rigid and not flexible and must focus attention on the following:

  • Formulating the objective of the study. 
  • Designing the method of data collection. 
  • Selecting the sample. 
  • Collecting the data. 
  • Analyzing the data. 
  • Reporting the finding. 

Hypothesis testing research studies

Hypothesis testing research studies, generally known as experimental studies, are those where the researcher tests the hypothesis of a causal relationship between variables. In other words, it usually finds out the cause and effects of the problem. 

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