Assignment: : Research Design, Strengths And Limitations, And Rationale

Research designs and methods are not created equal. Each design and method has its strengths and limitations. True experimental research designs, for example, tend to have higher levels of validity compared to ex post facto designs. Once you decide on your research design this week and the method, which you will cover in Week 8, it is important to evaluate limitations of each and consider how you will attempt to prevent or minimize them in your study.

Either determining research questions or the research design might come first; most likely, you will circle back from one to the other until they are aligned and one flows logically from the other. It is necessary to have both in place before deciding on your methodology.

To prepare for this Assignment, review the Learning Resources for the week. Your research design represents the structure of your study. In other words, the research design includes (a) elements of treatment; and (b) the number, type, relationship, and strategies to control the variables you are studying.  It also includes (c) the number and type of individuals or groups in your sample.  Finally, the research design includes (d) the measurements; (e) sampling methods; (f) data collection time frame; and (g) setting (Walden University2010).  Research methods are used to carry out research designs; methods fall under two broad categories: (a) Quantitative (e.g., experimsental, quasi-experimental) and (b) qualitative (e.g., case study, grounded theory, ethnography) (Trochim & Land, 1982). More on that in Week 8.

Again, your problem statement and research questions will help you determine your research design, and your research design will help determine your research method.  In this Assignment, you will select a research design and examine its appropriateness for your potential research.


( police brutality against African American males)

In your Discussion assignment, you have posted at least two research questions. In the Week 7 Assignment, using the required readings and media resources on research design, write 4-5 pages (a) describing at least one potential research design you could use, (b) the strengths and limitations (including reliability and validity issues) of that design selection, and (c) the rationale for your selection: Finally, explain how your problem statement, purpose statement, and research questions align with your proposed methodology and design. Be specific.

The latter will become part of your Prospectus section on the nature of the study, together with your chosen methodology.

Support your Assignment with specific references to all resources used in its preparation. You are asked to provide a reference list for all resources, including those in the Learning Resources for this course.


Required Readings

Criminal Justice

Maxfield, M., & Babbie, E. (2018). Research methods for criminal justice and criminology (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Chapter 4, “General Issues in Research Design”
Chapter 5, “Concepts, Operationalization, and Measurement”

Web Center for Social Research Methods. (n.d.). Research Methods Knowledge Base. Retrieved from


Rudestam, K. E., & Newton, R. R. (2015). Surviving your dissertation: A comprehensive guide to content and process (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. ISBN: 978-1-4522-6097-6
In Chapter 2, “Selecting a Suitable Topic,”  ‘Generating researchable questions’ (pp. 21–26)
Chapter 3, “Methods of Inquiry: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches” (pp. 27–65)
Chapter 5, “The Method Chapter: Describing Your Research Plan” (pp. 99–135)
Readings on research design, pages listed in Subject Index under “Research design,” (p. 359)
Readings on research questions, pages listed in Subject Index under “Research questions,” (p. 359)
Chapter 10, “Writing” (pp. 259–279)

Brause, R. S. (1999). Identifying your dissertation topic and your research questions. In Writing your doctoral dissertation: Invisible rules for success (pp. 37–47). New York, NY: Routledge.

Web Center for Social Research Methods. (n.d.). Research Methods Knowledge Base. Retrieved from

Walden University. (2010). Research design: Some thoughts on the research process. Minneapolis, MN: Walden University.

Trochim, W., & Land, D. (1982). Designing designs for research. The Researcher, 1(1), 1–6. Retrieved from

Walden University Library. (n.d.-a). Dissertations. Retrieved from

Simon, M. K. (2011a). Developing research questions. In Dissertation and scholarly research: Recipes for success (pp. 1–3). Seattle, WA: Dissertation Success. Retrieved from

Walden University, Center for Research Quality. (2012). Ph.D. dissertation process and documents. Retrieved from
Dissertation Prospectus Guide
Dissertation Student Process Worksheet

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