When a researcher has formulated a research problem, he/she has to focus on developing a good design for solving the problem. A good design is one that minimizes bias and maximizes the reliability of the data. It also yields maximum information, gives minimum experimental error, and provides different aspects of a single problem. A research design depends on the purpose and nature of the research problem. Thus, one single design cannot be used to solve all types of research problem, i.e., a particular design is suitable for a particular problem.
A research design usually consists of the following factors:
(i) The means of obtaining information;
(ii) The availability and skills of the researcher and his staff, if any;
(iii) The objective of the problem to be studied;
(iv) The nature of the problem; and
(v) The availability of time and money for the research work.
If a research study is an exploratory or formulative one, i.e., it focuses on discovery of ideas and insights, the research design should be flexible enough to consider different aspects of the study. Similarly, if the study focuses on accurate description or association between variables, the design should be accurate with minimum bias and maximum reliability. However, in practice, it is difficult to categorize a particular study into a particular group. A study can be categorized only on the basis of its primary function and accordingly, its design can be developed. Moreover, the above mentioned factors must be given due weightage while working on the details of the research design.