🪄What are the steps to design a research study?

Whether using advanced tools like Miro and Notion or simpler ones like Google, the article stresses the need for a thoughtful approach and teamwork to make research better.

What are the steps to design a research study?

Written by: Tarushi Mohan

Embarking on a research journey involves more than just curiosity—it requires a strategic roadmap. Crafting a well-thought-out plan is crucial for navigating the vast sea of information and ideas. In this article, we delve into a step-by-step process for effective research design. Whether you're a seasoned researcher or a beginner, an outlined approach, coupled with the right tools, aims to make the intricate world of research more accessible, organized, and fruitful. 

Having worked on multiple research designs across topics, here is my step-by-step process for this:

  1. Define the research objective:

Clearly say what you want to find out in your research. This is like the main goal for all your decisions. You cannot unpack every aspect of a problem in one go. Be clear from the beginning on what your primary focus is.

  1. Identify primary and secondary research questions:

Be precise. Make a main question and some detailed questions to focus your research. Your primary question serves in establishing the overarching tone of your questionnaires while your secondary questions articulate the intricacies of your objective.

  1. Establish the research hypothesis:

Work with others and do some early research to come up with smart guesses about what you might find. This sets the tone for your investigation. Make sure to involve all stakeholders in this process.

  1. Identify your preferred methodology:

Choose a way to do your research that matches your goals. Balance getting enough information without making things too hard for your participants. Keep the data collection process simple for yourself and interesting for your participants.

  1. Determine your target audience:

Decide who you want to talk to. Make sure you settle on a group that is easy to approach and recruit. List out all the demographic aspects of your ideal TG and then identify how to reach out to them.

  1. Chalk out a detailed timeline:

Plan out your time well with clear goals each week. This makes sure you move step by step, from data collection to analyzing and reporting data. Keep a buffer for events such as rescheduling, delay in data collection, festivals or public holidays, research fatigue etc.

  1. List out the resources required:

Figure out what you need, ranging from the human resources to tools for data collection and analysis. This helps you determine the viability of your project as well as establish a preliminary budget. 

  1. Determine your research budget:

The amount of money being spent on your research should be justifiable. In addition to the large researcher cost, aspects like platform subscriptions, participant incentives, any kind of travel/lodging costs etc should be budgeted for. 

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Using good tools for following the above mentioned steps is really important when you're planning a research study. In my personal experience, Notion and Miro are two helpful platforms, each with its own strengths. Notion is like an all-in-one space where you can manage tasks, take notes, work together with your team, and organize information easily. It's customizable, so you can make it fit your research project. Miro is great for visual planning and teamwork. It has virtual boards and tools for brainstorming and putting tables and charts together. Both Notion and Miro make research designing more organized and collaborative, and you can choose the one that fits your team's style and needs. 


Pic courtesy: Google


Pic courtesy: Google

On the other hand, if you are a beginner, looking for free platforms without any paid subscriptions, Google Spreadsheets, Google Slides and Google Docs are also viable options.

To sum up, beginning a research project is like starting an exciting journey of finding new things and coming up with innovative ideas. The key steps in research, such as setting goals and handling resources carefully, show how planning ahead is crucial. This organized way of working helps researchers deal with the complexities of their topics and add valuable information to what they already know. As researchers enter this interesting world of questioning and exploring, the skills of asking good questions, making solid plans, and discovering important things become not just abilities, but like a helpful guide for creative exploration and solving problems.

Cover photo by: Ron Lach