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Research Essentials: An Introduction to Designs and Practices



Research Essentials: An Introduction to Designs and Practices

Stephen D. Lapan (Editor), MaryLynn T. Quartaroli (Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-470-18109-6 February 2009 Jossey-Bass 440 Pages


This is an accessible and practical introduction to research that addresses the broadest spectrum of research methodologies of interest to the student or new research, from experimental and survey approaches to program evaluation and ethnography. Research Essentials includes key interpretive and qualitative strategies. The book shows the role that research plays in the social sciences and education, followed by an overview of research traditions. It offers practical examples and relevant resources across the disciplines. Other features include study questions, lists of relevant journals, web sites, and organizations.


The Editors.

The Authors.

1. Research Ethics and the Use of Human Participants (K. Larson).

Key Ideas.

Ethical Standards.

The Genesis of Research Standards.

Federal Regulations for Ethical Research.

Institutional Review Boards.

Minimizing Risks to Participants.

Informed Consent.



Confidentiality and Anonymity.

Publishing Research.

Social Consequences of Unethical Research.

Reading and Evaluating Studies.


Key Terms.

Further Readings and Resources.

2. Understanding Literature Reviews (G. McAllister and A. Furlong).

Key Ideas.

Understanding Literature Reviews.

What Is a Literature Review?.

Basic Elements of a Literature Review.

Types of Literature Reviews.

Literature Reviews and Rigor.

How to Read a Literature Review.

Value of the Studies.


Writing a Literature Review.

Muck About.

Set Your Parameters.

Conduct Your Research.

Analyze the Literature.

Focus on the Purpose of Your Literature Review.

Write Up the Literature Review.



Key Terms.

Further Readings and Resources.

3. Essential Elements of Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Research (W. E. Martin Jr. and K. Bridgmon).

Key Ideas.

Experimental Research Today.

Essential Elements of Experimental Research.

Processes of Designing and Conducting Experimental Research.

Formulating Experimental Conditions and Procedures.

Reducing Imprecision in Measurement.

Controlling Extraneous Experimental Influences.

Experimental Designs.

Randomized Posttest Only Control Group Design.

Randomized Pretest-Posttest Control Group Design.

Randomized Multiple Treatments and Control with Pretest Design.

Randomized Longitudinal Design.

External Validity.

Quasi-Experimental Research.

Nonequivalent Control Group Design.

Untreated Control Group Design with Dependent Pretest and Posttest Samples Using a Double Pretest.

Multiple Time-Series Design.


Key Terms.

Further Readings and Resources.

4. Nonexperimental Quantitative Research (G. Belli).

Key Ideas.

Overview of Nonexperimental Research.

Variables and Their Measurement.

Defining Variables.

Phrasing Questions.

Classifying Nonexperimental Research.

Classification Based on Purpose (Dimension 1).

Classification Based on Time (Dimension 2).

Combining Classification Dimensions.

Causal Explanations and Nonexperimental Studies.

Requirements for Causality.

Ruling Out Alternative Hypotheses.

Analysis and Interpretation in Nonexperimental Studies.


Discussion Questions or Activities.

Key Terms.

Further Readings and Resources.

5. A Primer of Survey Methods (M. Berends and G. Zottola).

Key Ideas.

What Is Survey Research?.

Surveys You Know.

The Research Process.

Choosing a Topic.

Focusing the Research: Concepts and Constructs.

Hypotheses, Variables, and Operationalization.

Independent Versus Dependent Variables.

Writing Good Survey Questions.

Piloting and Cognitive Interviews.

Sampling, Response Rates, and Nonresponse.

Probability or Random Sampling.

Simple, Stratified, and Systemic Samples.

Nonprobability Sampling.

Response Rates and Nonresponse.

Is the Framework Intact?.

Data Reduction.

Types of Surveys.

Face-to-Face Interviews.

Telephone Surveys.

Mail Surveys.

Internet and Web-Based Surveys.

Ethical Issues in Survey Research.

Ways to Ensure Confidentiality and Increase Anonymity.

Informed Consent.

Ethics Beyond Data Collection.


Key Terms.

Further Readings and Resources.

6. Quantitative Data Analysis (M. T. Quartaroli).

Key Ideas.

What Do Those Numbers Mean?.

Meanings of Numbers.

Summarizing Data: Descriptive Statistics.

Frequency Distributions.

Distribution Patterns.

Types of Numerical Data.

Measures of Central Tendency.

Measures of Variability.

Measures of Relative Position.

Measures of Relationship.

Descriptive Statistics Are Important.

Generalizing Results: Inferential Statistics.

Tests of Significance.

Selection of the Statistical Tests.

Using Inferential Statistics for Decision Making.

Evaluating Reports with Quantitative Data.


Key Terms.

Further Readings and Resources.

7. Understanding Meta-Analyses (G. V. Glass).

Key Ideas.

What Is Meta-Analysis?.

Meta-Analysis Illustrated.

Evaluating Meta-Analyses.

Another Example.


Key Terms.

Further Readings and Resources.

8. Evaluating Historical Research (L. M. Hines).

Key Ideas.

Basics of Historical Research.

How Are Questions Posed, or "So What"?.

Intriguing and Important Questions.

Filling a Gap.

Interpretive Differences.

Exploring Current Policy.

What Data Are Used, or "How Do You Know"?.

Primary Sources.

Secondary Sources.

What Is the Interpretation, or "Why Do You Think That"?.

Foci of Historical Studies.

Perspective on History.

Categories of Analysis.

Types of Historical Research.

Learning More.


Key Terms.

Further Readings and Resources.

9. Case Study Research (S. D. Lapan and S. W. J. Armfield).

Key Ideas.

Purposes of Program Case Studies.

Program Case Study Designs.

One-Shot or Snapshot Design.

Longitudinal Design.

Comparison Design.

Identifying the Case.

Planning and Conducting Case Studies.

Case Study Example: The Sentinel Middle School TILE Program.

Case Study Question 1: Influence on Instructional Planning.

Case Study Question 2: Student Thinking in Classroom Discussions.

Common Case Study Characteristics.

Learning from Case Studies.

Trusting Case Study Reports.


Key Terms.

Further Readings and Resources.

10. Program Evaluation (S. D. Lapan and C. M. Haden).

Key Ideas.

What Is Evaluation?.

The Logic of Evaluation.

Qualitative Versus Quantitative Data.

Forms of Evaluation.

Definition of a Program.

Purposes of Program Evaluation.

Program Evaluation History.

How Is Evaluation Done?.

Evaluation Agreement.

Criteria and Standard Selection.

Measuring Through Data Collection.

Synthesizing and Reporting Study Results.

Trusting Program Evaluation Findings.

Ethics in Evaluation Studies.

Judging Program Evaluation Studies.

Evaluator Qualifications.

Evaluation Planning.

Evaluation Design.

Evaluation Process.

Data Richness.

Study Validity.

Study Report.

Study Use.


Key Terms.

Further Readings and Resources.

11. Ethnography Research (F. J. Riemer).

Key Ideas.

Groping in the Dark.

What Is Ethnography Research?.

Ethnography Is Descriptive.

Ethnographic Methods.

Data Collection.

Risks of Ethnography Research.

Ethnographic Data Analysis.

Writing Up Field Notes.

Writing Up Ethnography Research.

Problems of Representation.

Reading Ethnography.

What Should a Reader Do?.

Practice Your Reading Skills.


Key Terms.

Further Readings and Resources.

12. Feminism(s): Critique and Transformation (R. Lalik and C. B. Felderman).

Key Ideas.

Feminism in Academic and Popular Discourse.

Variability Among Feminisms.

Waves of Feminism.

African American Feminists Broaden the Conversation.

Feminism(s) and the Critique of Science.

Critique Related to Women’s Participation in Scientific Endeavors.

Critique Related to the Erasure of Knowledge About Successful Women Scientists.

Critique Related to the Patriarchal Nature of Science.

Critique Related to the Epistemology of Science.

Possibilities for a Feminist Epistemology.

Feminism(s) and Research Method and Methodology.

Resisting a Doctrine of Neutrality.

Interrupting Efforts to Simplify and Universalize Knowledge.

Studying How Women and Other Marginalized People Experience Life.

Researching with Intention to Transform Society.


Key Terms.

Further Readings and Resources.

13. Using Multiple Methods Approaches (P. A. Schutz, S. L. Nichols, and K. A. Rodgers).

Key Ideas.

What Is Multimethod Research?.

Potential Benefits of Multimethod Research.

An Early Comment on the Benefits of Multiple Methods Research.

Adaptability of Multimethod Research.

Strength and Quality of Inferencing.

Summary of Benefits.

Multimethod Research Design.


Sampling Schemes.

Multimethod Sampling.

Research Design Conclusion.


Key Terms.

Further Readings and Resources.


14. Qualitative Data Analysis (M. T. Quartaroli).

Key Ideas.

Words, Words, Words "Now What".

Organizing the Data.

Describing the Data.

Coding the Data.

How Patterns Emerge.

Representing the Findings.

Writing Memos.

Creating Vignettes.

Developing Metaphors.

Creating Diagrams or Displays.

Building Theory.

Data Analysis Is Iterative.

Evaluating Reports with Qualitative Data.


Key Terms.

Further Readings and Resources.

15. Applying Research Methods to Professional Practice (D. Hopkins and E. Ahtaridou).

Key Ideas.

What Is Action Research?.

Models of Action Research.

Kemmis Model.

Elliott Model.

Ebbutt Model.

Methods of Action Research.

Developing a Focus.

Practitioner Reflection in Action.

Data Collection Methods.

A Framework for Data Analysis.

Data Collection.





Key Terms.

Further Readings and Resources.

16. Research, Policy, and Practice: The Great Disconnect (D. C. Berliner).

Key Ideas.

Origins of Faith and Apostasy in Research as a Guide to Practice.

Examples of the Problem.

Case 1.

Case 2.

Case 3.

Case 4.

Why the Disconnect?.

The Privacy Problem.

The Changed Roles Problem.

The Problem of Complexity in Classrooms and Other Social Settings.

The Problem of Science When It Delves into the Arts.

The Problem of Quality in Research.

The Problem of Relevance.

The Problem of Accessibility to Ideas by Practitioners.

The Problems of Stability and Instability in the Education System.

How Might Things Change?.


Key Terms.