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Research Design
Creating Robust Approaches for the Social Sciences



February 2013 | 232 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Research design is of critical importance in social research, despite its relative neglect in many methods resources. Early consideration of design in relation to research questions leads to the elimination or diminution of threats to eventual research claims, by encouraging internal validity and substantially reducing the number of alternative explanations for any finite number of research 'observations'.

This new book: discusses the nature of design; gives an introduction to design notation; offers a flexible approach to new designs; looks at a range of standard design models; and presents craft tips for real-life problems and compromises. Most importantly, it provides the rationale for preferring one design over another within any given context. Each section is illustrated with case studies of real work and concludes with suggested readings and topics for discussion in seminars and workshops, making it an ideal textbook for postgraduate research methods courses.

Based on the author's teaching on the ESRC Doctoral Training Centre "Masters in Research Methods" at the University of Birmingham, and his ongoing work for the ESRC Researcher Development Initiative, this is an essential text for postgraduate researchers and academics. There is no book like Research Design on the market that addresses all of these issues in an easy to comprehend style, for those who want to design research and make critical judgements about the designs of others.

 
PART ONE: INTRODUCTION - 'DESIGN' AS DISTINCT FROM METHODS
 
What Is Research Design?
 
Introducing Designs in the Cycle of Research
 
PART TWO: THE PRELIMINARIES OF RESEARCH DESIGN
 
Identifying Researchable Questions
 
Warranting Research Claims
 
The Nature of Causal Claims
 
PART THREE: PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
 
Identifying the Sample or Cases
 
Comparing for Comparative Claims
 
Matters of Timing and Sequence
 
Evaluating Controlled Interventions
 
PART FOUR: MORE ADVANCED CONSIDERATIONS
 
Further Designs for Evaluation
 
Challenges for Validity
 
How Big Is a Difference?
 
A Second Principle of Ethics
 
PART FIVE: CONCLUSION
 
Revisiting the Need for Robust Design

This is a clearly laid out book that really thinks about all the different elements of research design. It also addresses the limitations to various approaches and encourages readers to question their approaches and uses real world examples to explain concepts. A useful tool for researchers but might be aimed a little high for undergraduates.

Ms Helen Hewertson
Centre for Research Informed Teaching, University of Central Lancashire
June 12, 2015

An excellent and challenging book from Professor Gorard. Research design is a neglected area of education and this book challenges educators to reconsider its role within the research process.

Mr Ian McGonagle
Faculty of Social Science, Lincoln University
May 12, 2015

This text gives a wide-ranging view of research design that can support students’ with their own projects. A recommended publication for students' studying their dissertation units.

Miss Tracey Canham
Health Care And Early Years, Swindon College
December 24, 2014

Is a good resource fos students with different backgrounds and different research skills.

Professor Rute Brites
Department of Psychology and Sociology, Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa
December 2, 2014

I cannot recommend this book to my students because it does not fit exactly the aims that we cover in our lessons. Nonetheless, I think It is a very useful text to go ahead on this topic and probably I suggest it as a complementary text to review.

Dr Carmen Viejo
Phychology, UCO - University of Cordoba
October 20, 2014

An interesting lens on research design, would be of use for those undertaking a disseration project

Mrs Nikki Fairchild
Childhood Studies : Early Years, Chichester University
June 12, 2014

Discusses a range of design and and the differences between them. Easy to read. Very good book

Mr Gilbert Regan
mathematics and computing, Dundalk Institute of Technology
May 30, 2014

An excellent resource which is presented in a clear, easy to understand language. Unlike other books on the market that claim to be about research design, this really is and does not divert into other aspects. Nonetheless, the areas it does cover are succinct and in depth. Although I would highly recommend it for Doctorial programmes (and believe me it addresses all aspects of that), it would be very useful too for those on degree programmes. Research Design by Stephen Gorard, is an essential buy.

Mr Shane Payne
Engineering, Leicester College
May 18, 2014

This is an excellent text on research design in the social sciences. I recommend it to PhD and Professional Doctorate students when they are embarking on developing their research proposals. Their feedback suggests it is pitched at the correct level for postgraduate home and international students, and for some this will be their first in depth experience of engaging with the issues examined.

Dr Margaret Smith
School of Health Sciences, Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh
May 9, 2014

An interesting and innovative text that clearly explains various approaches and systematic steps involved in research design in simplistic manner.

Dr Alan Yates
Department of Psychology, University Campus Oldham
April 8, 2014

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1


Stephen Gorard

Stephen Gorard is the Professor of Education Research at the University of Birmingham, Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences, introducer for the ESRC Grant Awarding Panel A, and a methods expert for the US Institute of Education Science panel on Mathematics and Science. His research concerns the robust evaluation of education as a lifelong society-wide process, focused on issues of equity and effectiveness. He has successfully conducted over 70 projects funded by government and other sources, and is the author of hundreds of research books and articles. His work appears regularly in the media, and is much used by local and... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781446249024
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SAGE Research Methods is a research methods tool created to help researchers, faculty and students with their research projects. SAGE Research Methods links over 175,000 pages of SAGE’s renowned book, journal and reference content with truly advanced search and discovery tools. Researchers can explore methods concepts to help them design research projects, understand particular methods or identify a new method, conduct their research, and write up their findings. Since SAGE Research Methods focuses on methodology rather than disciplines, it can be used across the social sciences, health sciences, and more.