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Diagnostic Research: Characteristics and Research Design

John Albert Bernardo

Janid Sani

Kyle Colleen Bardaje


Jade Lagarde

July 2019

Research design carries an important influence on the reliability of the results attained.
This makes the research as effective as possible by providing maximum information with
minimum spending of effort, money and time. According to Green and Tull (1966), “A research
design is the specification of methods and procedures for acquiring the information needed. It is
the overall operational pattern or framework of the project that stipulates what information is to
be collected from which sources by what procedures.”There are several types of research
designs and choosing which design would be appropriate is an important process. Remember
that the type of research problem the researchers are facing will determine the research design
and not vice-versa. Thoughtlessness in developing the research project may lead to rendering
the research exercise futile. It is, for that reason, crucial that an efficient and appropriate design
should be prepared before beginning research operations. The researchers must give due
weight to various points such as the type of universe and its nature, the objective of hisstudy,
the resource list or the sampling frame, desired standard of accuracy and the like when takinga
decision in respect of the design for his research project.

This paper discusses discuss the characteristics of a diagnostic research and how it’s
research design is commonly constructed for the maximal information and opportunity for
considering many different aspects of the problem.

Diagnostic Research: Characteristics and Research Design

The diagnostic studies are concerned with discovering and testing whether certain
variables are associated. Such studies may also aim at determining the frequency with which
something occurs or the ways in which a phenomenon is associated with some other factors. It
is concerned with the express characteristics and existing social problems directed towards
discovering what and why something is occurring and what could be done about it. Diagnostic
studies are mostly motivated by hypotheses and seek immediate to timely solution of the causal
elements. It views the problem cross-sectionally through possible dimensions and identify
possible solutions to it.

According to Kothari (2004), “In descriptive as well as in diagnostic studies, the

researcher must be able to define clearly, what he wants to measure and must find adequate
methods for measuring it along with a clear-cut definition of ‘population’ he wants to study.
Since the aim is to obtain complete and accurate information in the said studies, the procedure
to be used must be carefully planned. The research design must make enough provision for
protection against bias and must maximize reliability, with due concern for the economical
completion of the research study. The research design must be carefully planned for a complete
and accurate information.”

According to Kar (n.d.), “The research design of diagnostic studies demands

strict adherence to objectivity for elimination of any chances of personal bias or prejudice.
Utmost care is taken while taking decisions regarding the variables, nature of observation to be
made inthe field, the type of evidence to be collected and tools of datacollection.
Simultaneously, the research economy should not be lost sight of. Any faulty decision in
theseregards will result in wastage of time, energy and money.”

In the diagnostic research design, a researcher is inclined towards evaluating the root
cause of a specific topic. Elements/factors that contribute or is responsible towards a
troublesome situation are assessed in this research design method. There are three parts of
diagnostic research design:

• Inception of the issue

• Diagnosis of the issue
• Solution for the issue

According to Kothari (2004), the research design in Diagnostic must focus on the

• Formulating the objective of the study (what the study is about and why is it being
o In a descriptive/diagnostic study the first step is to specify the objectives with
sufficient precision to ensure that the data collected are relevant. If this is not
done carefully, the study may not provide the desired information.
o Usually the first step in such designing is accurate formulation of research
problem wherein research objectives are precisely stated and principal areas of
investigation are properly linked. Otherwise the investigator will find it difficult to
ensure the collection of required data in a systematic manner.
• Designing the methods of data collection (what techniques of gathering data will be
o Then comes the question of selecting the methods by which the data are to be
obtained. In other words, techniques for collecting the information must be
devised. Several methods (viz., observation, questionnaires,interviewing,
examination of records, etc.), with their merits and limitations, are available for
the purpose and the researcher may user one or more of the methods.
o While designing data-collection procedure, adequate safeguards against bias
and unreliability must be ensured.
• Selecting the sample (how much material will be needed?)
o More often than not, sample has to be designed. Here we may only mention that
the problem of designing samples should be tackled in such a fashion that the
samples may yield accurate information with a minimum amount of research
effort. Usually one or more forms of probability sampling, or what is often
described as random sampling, are used. To obtain data free from errors
introduced by those responsible for collecting them, it is necessary to supervise
closely the staff of field workers as they collect and record information. Checks
may be set up to ensure that the data collecting staff performs their duty honestly
and without prejudice.
• Collecting the data (where can the required data be found and with what time period
should the data be related?)
o The data collected must be processed and analysed. This includes steps like
coding theinterview replies, observations, etc.; tabulating the data; and
performing several statistical computations.
• Processing and analysing the data
o To the extent possible, the processing and analyzing procedure should be
planned in detail before actual work is started. This will prove economical in the
sense that the researcher may avoid unnecessary labour such as preparing
tables for which he later finds he has no use or on the other hand, re-doing some
tables because he failed to include relevant data. Coding should be done
carefully to avoid error in coding and for this purpose the reliability of coders
needs to be checked. Similarly, the accuracy of tabulation may be checked by
having a sample of the tables re-done. In case of mechanical tabulation, the
material (i.e., the collected data or information) must be entered on appropriate
cards which is usually done by punching holes corresponding to a given code.
The accuracy of punching is to be checked and ensured. Finally, statistical
computations are needed and as such averages, percentages and various
coefficients must be worked out. Probability and sampling analysis may as well
be used. The appropriate statisticaloperations, along with the use of appropriate
tests of significance should be carried out to safeguard the drawing of
conclusions concerning the study.
• Reporting the findings
o Last of all comes the question of reporting the findings. This is the task of
communicating the findings to others and the researcher must do it in an efficient
manner. The layout of the report needs to be well planned so that all things
relating to the research study may be well presented in simple and effective style.


We can summarize the research design of a Diagnostic research has a rigid design that
must make provision for protection against bias and must maximize reliability. The process
includes identifying the problem, diagnosis of the problem and finding the solution for the
problem. Its sampling design is usually a probability sampling design, in order to get a
representative sample of the research universe drawn as to gather relevant data, the statistical
design is pre-planned for analysis, there’s a structured well-thought out instruments for
collecting data and advance decisions about operational procedures.
Reference List

Green, P.&Tull, S. (1966). Research for Marketing Decisions. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey:
Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Kothari, C.R. (2004). Research Methodology Methods and Techniques. 2nd Edition, New
AgeInternational Publishers, New Delhi.

Kar, P. (n.d.). Research Methodology – I. Retrieved from