Research Designs

There are several types of research designs:

  • Action Research Design: Initiated to solve an immediate problem or a reflective process of progressive problem solving led by individuals working with others in teams or as part of a “community of practice” to improve the way they address issues and solve problems.
  • Case Studies: An empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context; when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident; and in which multiple sources of evidence are used
  • Causal Design: The investigation into an issue or topic that looks at the effect of one thing or variable on another.
  • Cohort Design: A longitudinal study (panel study) that sample a cohort (a group of people who share a defining characteristic, typically who experienced a common event in a selected period, such as birth or graduation), performing a cross-section at intervals through time.
  • Cross-Sectional Design: A type of observational study that analyzes data collected from a population, or a representative subset, at a specific point in time—that is,cross-sectional data (also known as across-sectional analysis, transversal study, or prevalence study).
  • Descriptive Design: A study designed to depict the participants in an accurate way. The three main ways to collect this information are: Observational, defined as a method of viewing and recording the participants. Case study, defined as an in-depth study of an individual or group of individuals.
  • Experimental Design: A blueprint of the procedure that enables the researcher to test his hypothesis by reaching valid conclusions about relationships between independent and dependent variables. It refers to the conceptual framework within which the experiment is conducted.
  • Exploratory Design: A research conducted for a problem that has not been studied more clearly, establishes priorities, develops operational definitions and improve the final research design. Exploratory research helps determine the best research design, data-collection method and selection of subjects.
  • Historical Design: The purpose of a historical research design is to collect, verify, and synthesize evidence from the past to establish facts that defend or refute a hypothesis.
  • Longitudinal Design: An observational research method in which data is gathered for the same subjects repeatedly over a period of time. Longitudinal research projects can extend over years or even decades. In a longitudinal cohort study, the same individuals are observed over the study
  • Meta Analysis Design: A subset of systematic reviews; a method for systematically combining pertinent qualitative and quantitative study data from several selected studies to develop a single conclusion that has greater statistical power. To provide a more complex analysis of harms, safety data, and benefits.
  • Mixed Method Design: A methodology for conducting research that involves collecting, analyzing and integrating quantitative (e.g., experiments, surveys) and qualitative (e.g., focus groups, interviews) research
  • Observational Design: A type of correlational (i.e., non-experimental)research in which a researcher observes ongoing behavior. There are a variety of types of observational research, each of which has both strengths and weaknesses.
  • Philosophical Design: Study aims to present work by authors who conceive of philosophy as a cooperative scientific enterprise. It clarifies meanings, make values manifest, identify ethics, and studies the nature of knowledge.
  • Sequential Design: A combination of longitudinal and cross-sectional designs, by following several differently aged cohorts over time.

 

Learn More:

USC Research Guides: http://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/researchdesigns

Types of Research Designs: https://explorable.com/research-designs

What is Research Design?: https://www.nyu.edu/classes/bkg/methods/005847ch1.pdf

Understanding Research Study Designs: https://hsl.lib.umn.edu/biomed/help/understanding-research-study-designs

 

 

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5 Steps to Know Your Enemy: Beat the Competition or Collaborate

1. Know thyself.

When was the last time you Googled yourself? Updated your CV? Updated your career goals? Took a good long look at what you’ve accomplished thus far…and where you want to be in 10 years? When was the last time you asked for constructive criticism on your research?

2. Name thy enemy. 

A comprehensive literature review is the first step in generating a fundable research idea. When you’re working on the literature review, pay attention and start making a list of the competition. Who are the main authors? Who are the collaborators? Do a search on this year’s annual conference abstracts to find those who is presenting in your area. Generate a list of names of those in your field who are actively working in your area.

3. Research thy enemy.

Next, head to the NIH RePORTER and plug-in those names! See what is funding these people, where is the money coming from? Check the publications, check the NIH, check everywhere to find out who and what is funding this area of research. (Remember, you can use your competitor’s abstracts and key words to improve your next grant proposal!)

4. Humble thyself. 

Is there someone who is dangerously close to your line of research? Sounds like it might be time to invest in some Starbucks time and meet this person for coffee at the next annual meeting. See if there’s something small you can work on together.

5. Sit thy butt down and write a grant proposal. 

 

Recognizing Different Types of Funding

WhoIsFundingResearch_Infographic

There are two general funding agency categories: government funding, and foundation and industry funding. Within foundation and industry funding, you have organizations that are disease focused, such as the American Heart Association, or March of Dimes. You also have professional scientific organizations, such as the American Association for Cancer Research or the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturer’s Association (PhRMA). And there is also philanthropic foundations, such as the Gates Foundation or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Government funding agencies include the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and also other federal and state government agencies such as the Department of Defense and the California Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  Within the National Institutes of Health, there are several different types of research grants.

  • Parent Announcement
    • Sponsor research that is investigator initiated, i.e. there is no specific solicitation of the application. The applicant generates an idea that is programmatically relevant to the NIH, prepares an application, and submits on or before the deadline.
  • Program Announcement (PA, PAR, or PAS)
    • Used by awarding components at NIH to communicate particular interest in a research area to members of the extramural community. They are relatively general in nature. Responses are considered investigator-initiated projects within the specified area.
  • Request for Applications (RFA)
    • Quite different from others; research of a very specific kind is solicited and there is a single, specified deadline or set of deadlines that must be met.