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Research Methodology
A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Third Edition


440 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

CourseSmart

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

 
Summary

 
 
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

 
Summary

 
 
PART ONE: FORMULATING A RESEARCH PROBLEM
 
Reviewing the Literature
The Place of the Literature Review in Research

 
How to Review the Literature

 
Writing about the Literature Reviewed

 
Summary

 
 
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

 
Summary

 
 
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

 
Summary

 
 
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

 
Summary

 
 
PART TWO: CONCEPTUALISING A RESEARCH DESIGN
 
The Research Design
What is a research design?

 
The functions of a research design

 
The theory of causality and the research design

 
Summary

 
 
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

 
Summary

 
 
PART THREE: CONSTRUCTING AN INSTRUMENT FOR DATA COLLECTION
 
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

 
Summary

 
 
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

 
Summary

 
 
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

 
Summary

 
 
PART FOUR: SELECTING A SAMPLE
 
Selecting a Sample
The differences between sampling in quantitative and qualitative research

 
Sampling in quantitative research

 
Sampling in qualitative research

 
Summary

 
 
PART FIVE: WRITING A RESEARCH PROPOSAL
 
How to Write a Research Proposal
The research proposal in quantitative and qualitative research

 
Contents of a research proposal

 
Work schedule

 
Summary

 
 
PART SIX: COLLECTING DATA
 
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

 
Summary

 
 
PART SEVEN: PROCESSING AND DISPLAYING DATA
 
Processing Data
Part one: Data processing in quantitative studies

 
Part two: Data processing in qualitative studies

 
The role of statistics in research

 
Summary

 
 
Displaying Data
Methods of communicating and displaying analysed data

 
Summary

 
 
PART EIGHT: WRITING A RESEARCH REPORT
 
Writing a Research Report
Writing a research report

 
Developing an outline

 
Writing about a variable

 
Referencing

 
Writing a bibliography

 
Summary

 
 
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

 
Summary

 

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

Professor 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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