The research design is the overall plan for conducting a study that will optimize the ability to achieve the study purpose and obtain accurate results.
Quantitative designs require control, precise measurement, and numerical data to describe, predict, or determine the cause and effect of relationships. Different designs are used depending on the research problem and purpose of the study.
Nonexperimental designs typically describe a phenomenon, compare characteristics of two or more groups, or examine relationships among variables. Methodological research to develop or refine questionnaires often uses nonexperimental designs. In contrast, quasi-experimental or experimental designs are used to determine the effect of an intervention and if rigorous in design, provide strong evidence to guide clinical practice (Melnyk & Fineout-Overhold, 2005).
Common Quantitative Research Designs
Table previously published in: Whittemore, R. & Melkus, G. (2008). Designing a research study. The Diabetes Educator, 34, 201-216.