A research design is a specific structure based on the certain type of investigation according to which the researcher conducts the study and tests the hypothesis. Researchers in the field of nursing should pay much attention to choosing a research design because a properly selected research design serves to test the hypothesis effectively and to avoid significant bias (Polit & Beck, 2012, p. 49). From this perspective, the crucial factors influencing the researcher’s choice of a research design are the purpose of the research, the character of the studied data, subjects, and variables because it is necessary to select among the qualitative, quantitative, and mixed research designs while addressing the stated question.
The factor of the research’s purpose is closely associated with the process of identifying a research question and stating the hypothesis. Formulating the research question, the investigator focuses on the purpose of the research concerning what phenomena, where, and when will be studied with the help of qualitative, quantitative, or mixed research designs (Baldi, Gouchon, Di Giulio, Buja, & Gregori, 2011, p. 1824).
The second important factor is the nature of variables because the researcher focuses on studying the relationship between the variables, and it is necessary to state whether quantitative experiments and surveys or qualitative case studies, for instance, can contribute to answering the research question (Polit & Beck, 2012, p. 50).
The third important factor is the character of the studied data. Focusing on the hypothesis, the researcher should understand what type of data he is expected to receive and analyze because there are significant differences between approaches to working with qualitative and quantitative data (Ward, Furber, Tierney, & Swallow, 2013, p. 2423). The other important factor is subjects or participants because the availability of subjects influences not only the research design but also the role of the researcher as an observer or reviewer of the primary literature. The above-mentioned factors can be discussed as crucial while selecting the research design. In addition, the choice is supported with the focus on the other important factors such as the factor of time or setting.
Baldi, I., Gouchon, S., Di Giulio, P., Buja, A., & Gregori, D. (2011). Group sequential and adaptive designs: A novel, promising tool for nursing research. JAN, 67(8), 1824-1833.
Polit, D., & Beck, C. (2012). Nursing research: Generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins.
Ward, D., Furber, C., Tierney, S., & Swallow, V. (2013). Using Framework Analysis in nursing research: A worked example. JAN, 69(11), 2423-2431.