Understanding Research Methods: An Overview of the Essentials 10th Edition
Understanding Research Methods provides an overview of basic research methods for use in courses offered in departments of sociology, psychology, education, criminal justice, social work, counseling, communications, and business, as well as closely related fields that would benefit from a survey of methods used in the social sciences.
Why Should Students Have an Overview of Research Methods?
- Leaders in all fields rely on the results of research to make important decisions, such as how to adjust work environments to improve employee productivity and satisfaction, how to best address the problems of those who depend on social services, and which types of educational programs produce the best results. If students hope to become decision makers in their fields, they must understand research methods in order to effectively sort through conflicting claims found in the research literature and arrive at sound decisions.
- Many students will be expected to conduct simple but important research on the job. For instance, clinical psychologists are expected to track improvements made by their clients, teachers are expected to experiment with new methods in the classroom, social workers are expected to collect data on their clients, and many types of businesses use Internet or other data to track traffic and learn about their customers.
- All students will make lifestyle decisions that are at least in part based on research reported in the media. Should an individual take vitamin supplements? Which make of automobile is superior if the buyer’s primary concern is safety? What are the best ways to promote healthy child development in one’s children? Many types of answers are offered online, on television, or in print through social media, newspapers and newscasts, and in-depth articles. As a result of studying research methods, students can improve their ability to identify research-based claims and consume information crucially.
- Students may need to read and report on published research in other classes. They will be more skilled at doing this if they have a solid understanding of basic methods of research.
Distinctive Features of the Text
In order to make this textbook meaningful, the following distinct features have been incorporated. Learning tools include the following:
- Material is divided into short “topics” instead of long chapters. These short topics help students take small steps through the exciting but highly technical field of research methods. Long chapters used in other research methods books prompt students to take big gulps, which often are not easily digested.
- Topics build on one another. When a topic relies on previously covered material, it begins with a reminder of what students should have mastered already. This helps students connect material, review appropriately, and make smooth transitions from one topic to the next.
- Technical jargon is defined in plain English and numerous examples make abstract research concepts concrete. In field tests, students agreed that this book is comprehensible.
- Exercises at the end of each topic encourage students to pause and make sure they have mastered the concepts before moving on. This is important because much of the material in this book is cumulative. Mastering an earlier topic is frequently a prerequisite for mastering a later topic.
- Three types of exercises are offered at the end of most topics to suit different teaching and learning needs. A set of questions tests comprehension of factual material. Discussion questions give students a chance to interpret and apply the material and work well to stimulate classroom discussions. Research planning questions provide direction and activities to help students plan a research project.
- Statistical material is presented at the conceptual level. It shows students how to interpret statistical reports but does not include computational details.
New to this Edition
In addition to its key hallmarks, the tenth edition incorporates new content and features:
- Several new topics have been added that help to contextualize research:
- Topic 1: Knowledge and Research Methods
- Topic 11: Ethical Principles in Research
- Topic 15: Connecting the Literature to your Study
- Topic 18: Why Academics Use Citation
- Topic 20: Decisions in Quantitative Research Design
- Topic 34: Sampling in the Modern World
- Topic 45: Measurement in Qualitative Research
- Topic 50: Designing Case Study Research
- Topic 51: Mixed Methods Designs
- Topic 65: Understanding Probability in Inferential Statistics
- Topic 73: Regression Basics
- Several topics have been reordered and revised to create more coherence within the different parts of the book and to represent different dimensions of the research process.
- Qualitative aspects of design and analysis have been more consistently threaded throughout sections to ensure the topic is covered from start to finish.
- New examples from recently published research have been added throughout to keep this bestseller up to date.
- New figures and graphs have been added throughout to offer more visual aids to learning research methods.
- The appendices on electronic databases and electronic sources for statistics have been updated and citation guidance for psychology and sociology has been moved from the text to Appendices E and F.
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