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Research Methodology

Research Methodology
A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Third Edition

440 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd


Written specifically for students with no previous experience of research and research methodology, the Third Edition of Research Methodology breaks the process of designing and doing a research project into eight manageable steps and provides plenty of examples throughout to link theory to the practice of doing research.

The book contains straightforward, practical guidance on:

- Formulating a research question

- Ethical considerations

- Carrying out a literature review

- Choosing a research design

- Selecting a sample

- Collecting and analysing qualitative and quantitative data

- Writing a research report

The third edition has been revised and updated to include extended coverage of qualitative research methods in addition to the existing comprehensive coverage of quantitative methods. There are also brand new learning features such as reflective questions throughout the text to help students consolidate their knowledge.

The book is essential reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students in the social sciences embarking on qualitative or quantitative research projects.

Research: A Way of Thinking
Research: An Integral Part of Your Practice

Research: A Way to Gather Evidence for Your Practice

Applications of Research

Research: What Does It Mean?

The Research Process: Characteristics and Requirements

Types of Research

Paradigms of Research


The Research Process: A Quick Glance
The Research Process: An Eight-Step Model

Phase I: Deciding What to Research

Phase II: Planning a Research Study

Phase III: Conducting a Research Study


Reviewing the Literature
The Place of the Literature Review in Research

How to Review the Literature

Writing about the Literature Reviewed


Formulating a Research Problem
The Research Problem

The Importance of Formulating a Research Problem

Sources of Research Problems

Considerations in Selecting a Research Problem

Steps in Formulating a Research Problem

The Formulation of Research Objectives

The study population

Establishing operational definitions

Formulating a research problem in qualitative research


Identifying Variables
What is a variable?

The difference between a concept and a variable

Converting concepts into variables

Types of variable

Types of measurement scale


Constructing Hypotheses
The definition of a hypothesis

The functions of a hypothesis

The testing of a hypothesis

The characteristics of a hypothesis

Types of hypothesis

Errors in testing a hypothesis

Hypotheses in qualitative research


The Research Design
What is a research design?

The functions of a research design

The theory of causality and the research design


Selecting a Study Design
Differences between quantitative and qualitative study designs

Study designs in quantitative research

Other designs commonly used in quantitative research

Study designs in qualitative research

Other commonly used philosophy-guided designs


Selecting a Method of Data Collection
Differences in the methods of data collection in quantitative and qualitative research

Major approaches to information gathering

Collecting data using primary sources

Methods of data collection in qualitative research

Collecting data using secondary sources


Collecting Data Using Attitudinal Scales
Measurement of attitudes in quantitative and qualitative research

Attitudinal scales in quantitative research

Functions of attitudinal scales

Difficulties in developing an attitudinal scale

Types of attitudinal scale

Attitudinal scales and measurement scales

Attitudes and qualitative research


Establishing the Validity and Reliability of a Research Instrument
The concept of validity

Types of validity in quantitative research

The concept of reliability

Factors affecting the reliability of a research instrument

Methods of determining the reliability of an instrument in quantitative research

Validity and reliability in qualitative research


Selecting a Sample
The differences between sampling in quantitative and qualitative research

Sampling in quantitative research

Sampling in qualitative research


How to Write a Research Proposal
The research proposal in quantitative and qualitative research

Contents of a research proposal

Work schedule


Considering Ethical Issues in Data Collection
Ethics: the concept

Stakeholders in research

Ethical issues to consider concerning research participants

Ethical issues to consider relating to the researcher

Ethical issues regarding the sponsoring organisation


Processing Data
Part one: Data processing in quantitative studies

Part two: Data processing in qualitative studies

The role of statistics in research


Displaying Data
Methods of communicating and displaying analysed data


Writing a Research Report
Writing a research report

Developing an outline

Writing about a variable


Writing a bibliography


Research Methodology and Practice Evaluation
What is evaluation?

Why evaluation?

Intervention-development-evaluation process

Perspectives in the classification of evaluation studies

Types of evaluation from a focus perspective

Types of evaluation from a philosophical perspective

Undertaking an evaluation: the process

Involving stakeholders in evaluation

Ethics in evaluation



A very useful book that takes students through the process of research in a clear manner.

Dr Dzintra Stalmeisters
Counselor Education , Derby University
April 21, 2015

Liked the simple layout. Very informative and easy to follow.

Dr Patti Brooks
Business and Information Systems, Dakota State University
December 16, 2014

The textbook offers our master students an opportunity to prepare master thesis through preparing a research proposal as an essential part of the subject exam. Eight step research process described and included ethical issues are real beneficial for our students.

dr. Damijan Mumel

Faculty of Economics and Business, Department of marketing, University of Maribor
October 3, 2014

I found the book really useful for my second year students however when I was going to adopt it and then the 2014 version was updated and I was then considering using the 2014 edition even though it is being used in my class this year.

Ms Mapula Nkwana
School of Public Management and A, University of Pretoria
July 25, 2014

The author's knowledge and experiences in teaching research methodology is clearly illustrated in this textbook through his ability to effectively communicate difficult and sometimes confusing concepts. I highly recommend this book to all my students.

Professor Johan Van Graan
Department of Police Practice, University of South Africa - Florida
April 30, 2014

It is a great book for a capstone project because it really does go step-by-step through the research process from beginning to end.

Professor Leeda Copley
Soc Crim Just Sub Abuse Dept, University Of Central Oklahoma
March 12, 2014

Clear textbook with many examples.

Mr Vahid Keyhani
College of undergraduate studies, John F Kennedy Univ Law School
March 11, 2014

Kumar provides bite-size chapters that can inspire researchers of all capabilities to progress with their projects.

Mr Matt Kirby
Performance, University College Falmouth
February 21, 2014

A nice introductory text covering the main aspects of research

Ms Vicky McQuillan
Division of Occupational Therapy, Liverpool University
February 3, 2014

Research Methodology: a step-by-step guide for beginners contains 18 chapters which are divided into eight sections, or steps to help the reader understand the basic concepts of research and to plan small, medium or large scale project.

The first two chapters provide definitions and descriptions about what research is and how it effects and informs practice, as well as, deciding what to research and how to formulate a research problem. Chapters three through to six describe planning and conducting a literature review, forming research questions to address the research problem, identifying variables to measure and constructing a hypothesis. Chapters seven and eight cover the research design and selecting between quantitative and qualitative approaches when selecting a suitable study design. Chapters nine through to eleven address selection of data collection methods covering observation, interviewing and questionnaires, in addition to, addressing issues associated with establishing validity and reliability of the research instruments being used in the project. Chapters twelve through to eighteen cover selecting a sample technique suitable for making generalizations from a population, as well as, presenting how to write a research proposal. The text considers research ethics in the data collection phases of a project and how to process data and present it in a report. Chapter eighteen discusses undertaking projects which are evaluative within the context of when to implement this form of methodology.

This text is informative and accessible for students and researchers new to planning and conducting research projects. This book fully fulfills its intended purpose as a useful practical step by step guide into understanding, selecting and designing an effective research study.

This book is recommended as essential reading for students and researchers and can be used effectively in field, or as a quick reference book.

Mr Gary McKenna
School of Computing (Paisley) , University of the West of Scotland
December 22, 2013

New to this edition:

  • Greater coverage of qualitative research methods
  • Greater coverage of the use of internet in research
  • Fine tuning and improving the language
  • New student learning features including, chapter objectives, glossary, key words, reflective questions and further readings

Ranjit Kumar

Dr Ranjit Kumar taught at Curtin University of Technology and the University of Western Australia for 30 years. He is currently a freelance research and evaluation consultant in Western Australia. More About Author

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