Table 4: Sub-components of the research design section
Section Description
Research design
  • Describes the nature or structure of the planned research.
  • Describes whether it is an intervention or non-intervention study design.
Research methods
  • Comprises the various methods you will use to obtain and analyse data – qualitative, quantitative or mixed.
  • Justifies what you will do, when and how.
  • Provides a rationale for your research design.
  • Justifies how your methodology will enable you to produce results that are new or unique.
  • Comprises a number of sub-sections such as research design, participants, data collection, and data analyses.
Data collection
  • Explains how you intend to gather the information that will be used to answer the research question(s).
  • May involve the use of quantitative (e.g. surveys, recording the number of times an incident occurs, laboratory experiments), qualitative (e.g. interviews, observations).
Data analysis
  • Describes exactly how you plan to compile the data you collect and how you will organize and interpret the data to make sense of your findings.
  • Identifies themes, developing tables and charts, identifying relationships, and/or calculating frequencies.
  • Provides a full description of the subjects (sample) or participants involved in the research.
  • Describes the selection of participants.
  • Lists the criteria for becoming a participant.
Quality management
  • Describes the system to ensure the quality of the research project.
  • Helps provide confidence that the conduct of the study and data generated optimally fulfil applicable requirements.

[NOT OPTIONAL – You must have a quality management plan].

  • You must apply to an ethics board/committee if you intend to collect information/data from human participants (directly or indirectly).
  • If you are collecting data from more than one site, you may need to apply to more than one board.
  • Stipulate that you intend to apply for ethics approval.
  • Ethics approval may take several months to receive, so apply as soon as you submit your proposal for funding.
  • Most agencies will not release funds until ethics clearance has been received in writing.