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Student Research and Report Writing: From Topic Selection to the Complete Paper

ISBN: 978-1-118-96391-3
288 pages
January 2016, ©2016, Wiley-Blackwell
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Description

This is an invaluable, concise, all-in-one guide for carrying out student research and writing a paper, adaptable to course use and suitable for use by students independently, it successfully guides students along every step of the way.
  • Allows students to better manage their research projects
  • Exercises and worksheets break down the research process into small steps and walk students through each stage of the research project
  • Offers real-world and lively examples that are attractive and relevant to students
  • Based on twenty years of experience in teaching research techniques to students in a way that avoids the methodology “overkill” from encyclopaedic and intimidating textbooks
  • Accompanying website includes powerpoint lecture slides for instructors and helpful links to video resources for student. Visit www.wiley.com\go\wang\researchreportwriting
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

List of Boxes x

List of Figures and Tables xi

About the Website xiii

Chapter 1: Introduction: Start Your Research Journey 1

What Is Research? 1

What Type of Research Project Do You Have? 3

What Are the Procedures for Scientific Research? 6

Will There Be Bends and Detours in the Research Process? 6

How to Embark on Your Research Journey 7

How Will This Book Help You? 11

How Is This Book Organized? 12

Chapter 2: Topic Selection: Getting Started 15

Where Can You Start to Find a Good Topic? 15

How Can You Narrow Down Your Topic? 18

What Topic Is Appropriate for Your Research? 20

How Do You Know the Topic You Selected Is a “Good Topic”? 24

Can You Change Your Topic? 25

Exercises for Chapter 2 26

Your Project Outcome after Chapter 2 30

Chapter 3: Searching for Information 31

What Is Valid and Reliable Information? 31

What Do You Need to Prepare Before Searching for Information? 32

Should You Search in Libraries or on the Internet? 34

What Different Sources Are Available? 35

How Do You Go about Doing Library Research? 38

How Do You Conduct a Search Using Journal Article Databases? 43

How Do You Keep Organized Records of the Information Found? 50

How Do You Use the Information You Found? 53

Exercises for Chapter 3 54

Your Project Outcome after Chapter 3 57

Chapter 4: Reviewing the Literature 58

What Is a Literature Review? 59

Why Do You Need a Literature Review? 59

What Does the Literature Review Entail? 60

How to Sort Your Literature 61

How Do You Read Your Literature and Take Notes? 63

How Do You Evaluate and Synthesize Your Reviewed Literature? 64

How Do You Write Your Literature Review? 67

Exercises for Chapter 4 72

Your Project Outcome after Chapter 4 80

Chapter 5: Research Questions and Methods 81

What Are Your Research Questions? 81

What Are the Goals of Your Research? 84

What Method Should You Use in Your Research? 86

How Do You Use Theory in Your Research? 94

Are Ethical Matters Important in Your Research? 96

What Ethical Issues Should You Pay Attention To? 97

Exercises for Chapter 5 100

Your Project Outcome after Chapter 5 104

Chapter 6: Steps of Quantitative and Qualitative Research Designs 105

What Are Your Independent and Dependent Variables? 106

How Do You Select a Sample to Study from Your Target Population? 107

What Is an Acceptable Sample Size for Surveys? 108

How Do You Turn Your Concepts into Variables in Surveys? 110

What Are Levels of Measurement and Why Do They Matter? 111

What Do You Need to Know about Qualitative Research Designs? 116

How Do You Construct Your Interview Questions? 116

How Do You Select People for Interviews? 119

What Should You Do to Have Productive Interviews? 121

What Other Qualitative Data Collection Methods Can You Consider? 123

Exercises for Chapter 6 126

Your Project Outcome after Chapter 6 132

Chapter 7: Writing a Research Proposal 133

What Should You Include in Your Research Proposal? 134

Do You Need a Title for Your Proposal? 134

What Should You Write in Your Introduction? 135

What Should You Write in Your Literature Reviews? 136

What Should You Write about Your Research Methods? 139

What Else Do You Include in Your Proposal? 140

What Format Should You Use to List the References? 142

What Writing Styles Are Appropriate for Research Proposals? 143

Incorporating Feedback from Faculty Supervisors 143

Exercises for Chapter 7 145

Your Project Outcome after Chapter 7 149

Chapter 8: Practical Issues While Carrying Out Research 150

Do You Have to Get Your Research Project Approved by Your University? 151

How Can You Carry Out Your Data Collection Effectively? 152

What Are Common Practical Problems in Qualitative Research? 157

What Ethical Dilemmas Will You Encounter in the Field Research Process? 160

What Should You Do When You Face Ethical Dilemmas? 162

What Problems Are Common in Questionnaire Surveys? 162

How Can You Conduct Your Questionnaire Surveys Effectively? 164

Maintaining Good Communications with Your Supervisor 165

How to Complete Your Research Project on Time 166

Exercises for Chapter 8 168

Your Project Outcome after Chapter 8 172

Chapter 9: Quantitative Data Analysis 173

How Do You Start Entering Data From Your Survey or Interview Questionnaire? 174

Why Do You Need to Know the Levels of Your Measurement? 181

What Computer Data Analysis Procedure Should You Use for Your Research? 182

To Provide Descriptive Information about Your Respondents, Use Frequency, or Descriptive Analysis 182

To Determine If Two Variables Are Related to Each Other, Use Cross Tabulations and Chi-square Analysis 186

To Calculate Correlations between Two Variables That Are Measured at Interval or Ratio Level, Use Pearson’s r 189

To Know Whether an Independent Variable Predicts or Explains an Effect on a Dependent Variable, Use Regression Analysis 192

To Predict or Explain the Effects of Several Independent Variables on a Dependent Variable, Use Multiple Regression Analysis 195

To Test If Two Means Are Significantly Different, Use the t-test 198

To Determine Whether More Than Two Means Are Significantly Different, Use Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) 203

Exercises for Chapter 9 207

Your Project Outcome after Chapter 9 210

Chapter 10: Qualitative Data Analysis 211

What Is the Purpose of Qualitative Data Analysis? 211

Do You Need to Transcribe All Your Interviews? 213

Where Do You Start? 214

What Is the Process of Inductive Analysis? Steps of Grounded Theory 219

What Is the Process of Deductive Coding in Content Analysis? 224

What Tools Can You Use to Organize and Summarize Codes? 226

How Do You Write about Findings from a Qualitative Analysis? 227

Exercises for Chapter 10 231

Your Project Outcome after Chapter 10 235

Chapter 11: Writing the Final Report 236

What Should You Include in Your Final Report? 236

How Is Your Final Report Different from Your Proposal? 237

What Should You Consider before You Start Writing Your Final Report? 239

Title of Your Final Report or Thesis 240

An Abstract of Your Final Report 241

Introduction 242

Literature Reviews 242

Research Methods 245

Findings 247

Discussions 249

Conclusions 250

References 250

How to Write a Report for Qualitative Research 251

Papers Based on Qualitative Field Research 251

Historical Research 253

Comparative Research 254

A Final Check 254

Exercises for Chapter 11 256

Your Project Outcome after Chapter 11 259

Index 261

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Author Information

GABE T. WANG is Professor of Sociology at William Paterson University. He has published four books including China’s Population Problems, Thoughts and Policies (1999), China and the Taiwan Issue (2006) and American Sociology and the Socioeconomic Development of China (2013). His research focuses on population, socioeconomic development, and adolescent deviant behaviours. Professor Wang has given lectures in many universities and research institutes in China. He has over 20 years of experience in teaching research methods and student research.

KEUMJAE PARK is Associate Professor of Sociology at William Paterson University. Her research focuses on immigrant women, migration in comparative perspectives, identities, and social inequality. She is the author of Korean Immigrant Women and the Renegotiation of Identity: Class, Gender, and Politics of Identity (2009). She enjoys teaching and mentoring student research and postgraduate theses. She teaches research methods and data analysis courses on a regular basis.

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Reviews

Student Research and Report Writing is the most comprehensive and yet concise guide to student research that I have seen. Wang and Park get to the essence of what new researchers need to know and anticipate, without oversimplifying or cutting corners. I will definitely incorporate it into my teaching.
Howard Lune, The City University of New York

Wang and Park have taken their years of experience with fielding student questions about the research process and put them to excellent use in this book.  Written from the “inquiring minds” perspective, the authors do a great job of posing and answering questions that every student researcher should ask and must ultimately answer when embarking on an independent research project.  Students and professors alike will undoubtedly find this book to be most helpful.
Janet Ruane, Montclair State University

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