Design Assignment Template


The purpose of your research design assignment is to evaluate the effectiveness of your program. This template walks you through the important steps of making decisions about your design. The questions you need to answer are written in black font on the left and approximate sentence lengths are provided. The blue text clarifies what each question is asking and what you need to include in your responses. Your writing should be academic, precise, and succinct.


  1. Describe your program. (1-2 sentences)
What is your program and what problem does your program address? 
  1. What are your evaluation questions? (List them.)
List your questions. You can revise these if needed.
  1. What family of designs (experimental, quasi-experimental, or nonexperimental) and what specific design (true experiment, PSM, observational, etc.) have you chosen? (1 sentence)
The “family” refers to the large category of research designs. You also need to identify the specific design (within the family) that you have chosen.  
  1. How does this design allow you to answer your evaluation questions? (2-4 sentences)
Refer back to Q1, Q2, etc. and justify how this design will allow you to best answer each question. 
  1. What is your sampling strategy? Why did you choose this? (2-5 sentences)
Use sampling language (e.g. criterion, random, convenience) and justify your decision. 
  1. How will you form your groups? Explain your choice. If you are not comparing groups, explain why you made this decision. (2-5 sentences)
If you have two or more groups, explain the method you will use to create those groups. If you only have one group, explain why you made this decision. 
  1. What comparisons will you make and how will those help you answer your evaluation questions? (2-5 sentences)
Describe whether you are comparing between groups (e.g., group 1 vs. group2) or within groups (e.g., group 1 pre-test vs group 1 post-test). Explain how the comparisons will allow you to answer your questions. 
  1. How are you going to analyze the data you collect? Be specific and use qual/quant language. (2-5 sentences)
If you have multiple types of data you are collecting, explain how you will analyze each type. Be precise in your explanation and use specific qual/quant language. 
  1. What are the strengths of your design? (2-5 sentences)
Explain the strengths of this particular design to your particular evaluation. Do not discuss strengths in general, but strengths specific to your topic and this research design. 
  1. What are considerations you need to make related to your design? (2-5 sentences)
Show how you are planning ahead in your research. You should address how you will minimize bias in estimating program effects, ensure consistent data collection procedures, maintain validity, etc. 
  1. What are the limitations of your design to answer your evaluation questions? (2-5 sentences)
The limitations you describe should be related to internal and external validity. Use this language and be specific in your description. 


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