A Comprehensive Guide to Know What is Diagnostic Design

A Comprehensive Guide to Know What is Diagnostic Design | Product Design & Innovation | Emeritus

Diagnostic design enables researchers to evaluate the cause of a specific phenomenon or problem. Simply put, it helps to understand and analyze the factors that lead to the creation of any problems or obstacles in companies. It looks at the reasons behind the cause of certain occurrences, and the elements that influenced it, among other aspects. This article, therefore, takes a deeper dive to explore what is diagnostic design and understand its types, as well as its pros and cons. 

What is Diagnostic Design?

What is Diagnostic Design

As mentioned above, the what is diagnostic design question looks at the ‘why’ of particular problems and delves into their underlying causes. This method, thus, helps researchers learn more about the factors that create problems. The basic process of diagnostic design, then, begins with gathering as much information as possible. This can be in the form of surveys, interviews, focus groups, as well as observations. The resulting data is then analyzed to pinpoint any patterns or correlations between different variables. The key to understanding what is diagnostic design is that it helps understand the reason that something may occur. With this information, companies can make improvements to their processes or strategies. This can ultimately help organizations achieve success.  

Diagnostic Design Example

Let’s look at an example to get more clarity on what is diagnostic design. In the context of a business, consider a firm whose product is not selling well in the market. If they want to find out the reason behind this, the firm can employ diagnostic design research to figure out the cause and make improvements. To that end, the researchers thus employed will first gather data, maybe through surveys or questionnaires filled out by the target group, and find out what problems they had with the product. Once they know where it falls short, the firm can thus take appropriate measures to either improve it or recall it.   

Types of Diagnostic Design

What is Diagnostic DesignDiagnostic design analysis is classified into quantitative and qualitative categories.

Cross-Sectional Study

A cross-sectional study is prevalent in medical research, social science, and biology. This study approach examines data from a population or a representative population sample at a specific point in time.

Longitudinal Study

A longitudinal study is one in which the same variables are observed repeatedly over a long period of time. This can be weeks, months, or even years. In fact, some longitudinal studies even last for decades. This is mostly prevalent in the medical field.

Cross-Sequential Study

Cross-sequential research design combines longitudinal and cross-sectional research methods to compensate for some of the flaws inherent in them. 

Cohort Study

A cohort study is a type of longitudinal study that takes a cross-section of a cohort (a group of people with a common trait) at predetermined time intervals. It is a form of panel research in which all the group members share something in common.

Characteristics of Diagnostic Design

Knowing what is diagnostic design requires being familiar with its characteristics too. Some of them are given below: 


After collecting and analyzing the data, the projected results in the research should be free from bias and neutral.  


Any researcher expects similar results every time with regularly conducted studies. To accomplish that, your design must be reliable. Formulate your research questions to ensure the standard of results.


There are multiple measuring tools available for diagnostic design studies. However, the proper measuring tools are the ones that help a researcher in studying the results in a way that aligns with the objective of the research.


The design outcome should apply to a population instead of a restricted sample. To further clarify, a generalized method implies that your survey can be conducted on any part of a population with similar accuracy 

Diagnostic Design Method

Diagnostic design helps to understand the factors or issues that cause the problem at hand. It includes the researcher asking the following questions during the different stages: 

  1. The inception of the issue and the reason behind it. Furthermore, under what circumstances is the issue more evident?
  2. Diagnosis of the issue and its underlying cause. Has the issue worsened with time?
  3. Find the solution; rather, check if there is one. Is this a solvable problem? Moreover, under what circumstances does the problem seem to become less evident?

Pros and Cons of Diagnostic Design


  • The design approach gathers a large amount of data for the study
  • The data can be used for future reference using this research method
  • The diagnostic design gives a general overview of the study which is helpful to determine useful pointers for variables  


  • Opting for small sample size or choosing the wrong variables 
  • Moreover, outcomes cannot be replicated as the outcomes are specific to the problem being considered

 Is Diagnostic Design Qualitative or Quantitative?

What is Diagnostic DesignDiagnostic design can be both qualitative and quantitative. Sometimes, it can even be a combination of both in certain cases. 

Quantitative diagnostic design involves the use of numerical data, statistical analysis, and objective measurements to identify a specific disease or condition. For example, a quantitative diagnostic test for COVID-19 would involve measuring the amount of the virus’s genetic material in a patient’s sample and comparing it to a threshold value to determine whether the result is positive or negative.

Qualitative diagnostic design, on the other hand, relies on non-numerical data, such as observations, interviews, and subjective assessments to identify specific diseases or conditions. For example, take the same example of COVID-19. In qualitative diagnostic design, the researcher observes a patient’s symptoms, such as cough, fever, and shortness of breath. Following this, the researcher uses a scoring system to determine whether the person is likely to be infected by the virus.

Boost Your Career With Emeritus

Clearly, diagnostic research is carried out not only to identify the problem but to suggest a solution as well. It is an important tool that companies can leverage to ensure business and product development. If this is a field of study that excites you, then learn more about what is diagnostic design with Emeritus’ product management courses. It will allow you to explore multiple aspects of product design, and it will also enable you to develop the skills needed to succeed in the field. 

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What is Diagnostic Design

About the Author

Senior Content Writer, Emeritus Blog
Gauri has found that the upside of being a writer and a scissor-happy copy editor is a rather constant, even paranoid, eye on her own work—and a healthy aversion to complacency. As a professional content creator for over a decade, she has spent time writing (and editing) design, architecture, and lifestyle stories, as well as corporate content, brochures, ads, and websites, among other genres. Her stint with Emeritus has opened an exciting and challenging avenue of education to explore and proves what she already knows—you’re really never done learning.
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