Research design and research methodology are often considered as synonyms by inexperienced researchers and students. There is nothing surprising here, since the concepts are rather similar and can be easily mixed up by novice scholars.
Still, in order to perform all the bureaucratic actions needed for writing a dissertation or a thesis, you need to understand the difference between research design and methodology precisely. So, here we will outline the difference and explain why you need to plan your research design and methodology.
Research Design and Methodology: Easy as One-Two-Three
Research design stands roughly for a short outline of your future research, its timetable or a plan of sorts. When writing a research proposal or even applying for a research grant, you need to outline what parts your research consists of and how you are going to deal with them. Research methodology is a description of particular methods you are going to use in your research. So, it is a plan too – but it is much more thorough and comprehensive.
Generally speaking, when thinking of research design and methodology, you can safely assume that such design is needed for bureaucrats who plan all research of your university. At the same time, methodology is needed for your colleague researchers who are well versed in your field of study.
Both research design and methodology are required before delving into work on a complex project. Explaining your research design and methods is crucial when money is involved – especially when opting for grants and other forms of financial support. By the way, there is a comprehensive guide on research design and methods: Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Method Approaches by John W. Creswel.