A study design outlines your goals and objective making it easy to track your progress. The purpose of a study design is to clearly state when and how you will be monitoring; but more importantly why you are monitoring.
Developing a study design is an important part of a monitoring program. By developing a study design you can insure that everyone in your group is moving forward and striving towards the same goals. A study design should be able to help you determine if your monitoring program is giving you the information you intended to gather. Also, by reviewing your study design outside data users will be able to understand the purpose of your program and the quality of data you collect.
A study design should be much more than just identifying your monitoring questions. When developing a study design you should always start by looking at the bigger picture, what is your desired goal? Then start to look at the finer details that will bring you to that goal. By clearly identifying the reason for your monitoring you will be better able to determine what questions will need to be asked to obtain your goal.
-Are you interested in documenting the health of a stream with little or no data?
-Would you like to know if it is safe for you and your community to fish and swim at the park?
-Are you concerned that the big development going in upstream is degrading the water quality of a stream?
Knowing the right questions will help you determine which parameters will be important to your monitoring program
For more information on creating a study design visit the following links: