6. Choosing the Right Study Design

“Look for your choices, pick the best one, and then go with it” – Pat Riley


In this chapter you will learn about:

  • choosing the right study design
  • ethical considerations
  • writing a research proposal.

Opening Scenario

As stated by Pat Riley, a former player and coach in the American National Basketball Association (NBA), in life, you need to “Look for your choices, pick the best one, then go with it”. This is true for research too! Research turns out to be successful if a suitable research design has been incorporated. However, selecting an appropriate research design can be challenging especially when there are many options to choose from. As they say, when you only have one option, it’s simply an option. Two options make a dilemma. Three options present a real choice. It could be a simple decision such as “should I order a sponge cake or roasted strawberry crumble for dessert?” to a more complex decision with much higher stakes like where to live. For example, as a student who is studying away from home, Paul needed to find accommodation and he wanted a place that was convenient in terms of been in close proximity to the campus as well as the shopping mall. Paul went for some house inspections and found two places that met his requirements. However, he decided to settle for the second-best choice because the rental price for his first preference was above his budget. This kind of dilemma can happen when choosing a research design. High funding cost could mean that one is unable to do an RCT. In Paul’s case, he needed to choose only one place of abode that he could afford. Sometimes, we don’t have to choose only one option. Remember, the story about Stephanie in Chapter 5, who had the opportunity to partake in the best of both worlds with her two favourite dishes – Sukiyaki and Tonkatsu.  As discussed in Chapter 5, mixed methods design gives researchers the privilege of saying “yes” to both quantitative and qualitative study designs and it works out well. However, like Paul, researchers need to make some considerations to be able to choose the most suitable study design for their research. Let’s now delve into the things that need to be considered.



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An Introduction to Research Methods for Undergraduate Health Profession Students Copyright © 2023 by Faith Alele and Bunmi Malau-Aduli is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.