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The Rationale for selecting an appropriate Research Design

Research designs are plans for addressing research questions, consequently directing the research procedures. For instance, it includes the steps from broad assumptions to detailed data collection and analysis methods. The general choice has which approach should be utilized to consider a theme.
Educating this choice ought to be the philosophical presumptions the researcher brings to the examination, methodology of request (research designs), and explicit exploration strategies for information assortment, investigation, and understanding. The determination of an exploration approach is likewise founded on the idea of the examination issue or issue being tended to, the scientists’ very own encounters, and the crowds for the investigation.
The rationale for three research designs: (a) qualitative, (b) quantitative, and (c) mixed methods, are discussed in this article. Qualitative research is a methodology for investigating and understanding social or human issues, and it deals with exploring a phenomenon under the inductive and theory-building approaches.
The quantitative approach is a methodology for testing target hypotheses by inspecting the relationship among deductive variables.
These variables thus can be estimated regularly on instruments, so that numbered information can be broken down utilising statistical approaches. Mixed methods research is a way to deal with a request, including gathering both quantitative and qualitative data, coordinating the two types of information, and utilising particular plans that may include philosophical presumptions and hypothetical systems. The mixed-methods approach preferably depends on a pragmatic view and a philosophical perspective.
It was emphasised that research decision often starts with reviewing the literature to explore the research gaps, and then it is possible to derive specific research questions/objectives. Research questions/goals mainly guide which research design to select. In addition to the research problem, researchers’ interest/competency/ experience, resource availability, and audience play a significant role in choosing the right research design.
The Rationale for a Quantitative Inquiry
The speakers emphasized that the research problems/questions that need a quantitative inquiry fall into four categories: descriptive, comparative, relationship bound, and historical. Descriptive questions seek quantitative analysis of more than one variable. Usually, the questions that start with “What” fall under the descriptive category.
For instance, “what are the determinants of capital structure?” and “What factors affect payout decisions?” could be considered descriptively bound research questions that need a quantitative inquiry.
The comparative category of research questions/problems compares and contrasts one or more variables among two or more groups. For instance, “what is the difference in levels of statistics anxiety between undergraduate male and female students” exemplifies the comparative nature of quantitatively bounded research problems/questions.
The third type is the “relationship nature” of the research questions. It is argued that these types of questions include words such as “relate,” “relationship,” “association,” or “trend”, and “influence” in developing research questions/problems.
For instance, when we investigate the relationship between liquidity and stock split initiation and the influence of advertising expenditure on marketing performance, the relationship nature of quantitative research designs is suitable.
The historical type of research questions/objectives is to predict the future through past information. The impact of lagged dividend payout on current dividend policy and the past investments of research and development on recent performance exemplify such historically based research questions. Further, it was emphasized that researchers should not start research questions with the words “does,” “Do,” “is,” or “are” since they lead to yes/no apparent answers.
The Rationale for a
Qualitative Inquiry
It was stated that “An exploratory (qualitative) study is undertaken when not much is known about the situation at hand, no information is available on how similar problems have been solved in the past, and to get better understanding/clarity and insights on a phenomenon” The speakers emphasized that research questions that have qualitative leanings discourse on “how” and “what” questions.
In addition, the research questions which start with the “why” word are required in a qualitative inquiry that deals with human interactions.
It was further emphasized that qualitative research designs are “evolving, open-ended, and non-directional” and case study, phenomenology, ethnography, narrative research are the main types of them). For instance, research questions such as “why do companies pay dividends, how do gang leaders select gang members, what finance decisions lead to a sustainability-oriented culture in an organization, and what does it mean to teachers to win a teaching award”” require qualitative inquiries since they are qualitative in nature.
The Rationale for a
Mixed-Methods Inquiry
The research questions that need a triangulated or mixed methods inquiry combine qualitative and quantitative aspects. Whether these two phases are sequential, embedded or concurrent depends on four criteria: timing, weighting, mixing, and theorizing. For instance, when determining the impact of investor sentiment on asset price movements, it is imperative to get information about both investor sentiment (qualitative, independent variable) and stock price movements (quantitative, dependent variable).
In the qualitative phase, the investor’s overall attitude (belief) toward a particular stock price movement could be determined by developing an instrument through interviews. Then, in the quantitative phase, it is possible to investigate the relationship between attitude and the level of price movements through a survey. The overall research design is sequential because the quantitative phase follows the qualitative phase.
Further, a higher weightage is given for the qualitative phase. Here, the factors such as “timing” (qualitative followed by the quantitative approach) and “weightage” supported in determining the suitable research design that is sequential exploratory in nature.
Research questions needed a sequential explanatory design (The quantitative phase followed by the qualitative phase).
For instance, for addressing a research question like “what is the difference in perceived barriers to reading empirical research articles between graduate students with a low level of reading comprehension and high level of reading comprehension” a sequential explanatory design is needed; because first, we need to administer a test of reading comprehension, rank these comprehension scores, and then purposively select students who are high/level.
Then we can interview them using a purposive sampling method. Here, the first approach is quantitative (using a quantitative test to measure reading comprehension), followed by the qualitative approach to determine the perceived barriers to reading empirical research articles. Hence, it required a sequential explanatory design.
Researchers’ Experience, Competency, Resource Availability and Audience as the Rationale
Researchers’ preparations, interests, experiences and competencies also matter when selecting the methodology.
An individual prepared in specialized, logical composition and quantitative aspects acquainted with quantitative journals would doubtlessly pick the quantitative designs. Researchers who appreciate writing artistically or leading individual meetings, or mentioning very close objective facts may incline toward the qualitative techniques.
The blended strategies scientist is an individual acquainted with both quantitative and subjective examination. Resource availability also matters as some designs, mixed methods designs, require more resources.
At last, researchers compose crowds that will acknowledge their research. These crowds might be journal editors and faculty committees, conferences, meeting participants, or colleagues in the field.
The encounters of these crowds with quantitative, qualitative, or blended strategies studies can shape the choice settled on the decision of methodology selection.
By:
Prof. Dewasiri N. Dewasiri
Professor, Department of Accountancy and Finance
Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka
Brand Ambassador – South Asia: Emerald Publishing

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