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Research Methods for the Behavioral Sciences
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Research Methods for the Behavioral Sciences

Fourth Edition


November 2024 | 624 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Research Methods for the Behavioral Sciences, Fourth Edition employs a problem-focused approach to present a clear and comprehensive introduction to research methods. Award-winning teacher and author Gregory J. Privitera fully integrates the research methods decision tree into the design process to help students choose the most appropriate method for the research question they are seeking to answer. This conversational text empowers students to view research methods as something they are capable of understanding and applying. Over the course of the book, students learn how to structure a study to answer a research question and navigate through the process of choosing an appropriate analysis or statistic to write a research report. New elements to the Fourth Edition include a new standalone chapter on qualitative research, assumptions testing throughout chapters on quantitative research, and updated examples and figures to communicate the latest updates in behavioral science research.
 
About the Author
 
Acknowledgments
 
Preface
 
To the Student—How to Use SPSS With This Book
 
Section I • Scientific Inquiry
 
Chapter 1 • Introduction to Scientific Thinking
 
Chapter 2 • Generating Testable Ideas7
 
Chapter 3 • Research Ethics
 
Section II • Defining and Measuring Variables, Selecting Samples, and Choosing an Appropriate Research Design
 
Chapter 4 • Identifying Scientific Variables
 
Chapter 5 • Sampling From Populations
 
Chapter 6 • Choosing a Research Design
 
Section III • Nonexperimental Research Designs
 
Chapter 7 • Qualitative Research Designs
 
Chapter 8 • Naturalistic and Existing Data Research Designs
 
Chapter 9 • Survey and Correlational Research Designs
 
Section IV • Quasi-Experimental and Experimental Research Designs
 
Chapter 10 • Quasi-Experimental and Single-Case Experimental Designs
 
Chapter 11 • Between-Subjects Experimental Designs
 
Chapter 12 • Within-Subjects Experimental Designs
 
Chapter 13 • Factorial Experimental Designs
 
Section V • Analyzing, Interpreting, And Communicating Research Data
 
Chapter 14 • Analysis and Interpretation: Exposition of Data
 
Chapter 15 • Analysis and Interpretation: Making Decisions About Data
 
Chapter 16 • Communicating Research: Preparing Manuscripts, Posters, and Talks
 
Appendix A: APA-Style Writing, Sample Manuscript, and Posters
 
Appendix B: Instructions for Randomizing and Counterbalancing
 
Appendix C: SPSS General Instructions Guide and Statistical Tables
 
Glossary
 
References
 
Index
Key features

NEW TO THIS EDITION:

  • A new standalone Chapter 7: Qualitative Research further expands and highlights this growing area of behavioral science research methods. 
  • Testing the Assumptions of Parametric Testing features balance the coverage of this final analysis step in quantitative research by: making students aware of the assumptions; connecting readers to where in the book they can learn about nonparametric alternatives to this testing; and providing students with a more balanced perspective for choosing appropriate statistical analyses to analyze quantitative data.
  • Expanded Learning Checks throughout chapters allow students more opportunities to test their understanding and align more closely with chapter learning objectives.
  • Additional and updated examples clarify distinguishing between basic and applied research, types of validity and reliability, and more.
  • Hypothesis methodology linked to current examples help students realize the value and real-world application of research design in the behavioral sciences, and connects them to examples in research that they can relate to their own experiences and interests.
  • Content reflective of SPSS® v.29 incorporates new selection options required to analyze data in chapters and in Appendix C.
  • Revised figures, tables, and writing improve clarity and readability of the material.
  • Over 60 new references reflect the latest scholarship and perspectives and replace relatively outdated references.

KEY FEATURES:

  • A problem-focused organization of five main sections that each build upon the last give students a full picture of the scientific process.
  • Ethics in Focus features throughout review important ethical issues related to the topics in each chapter.
  • Coverage of three broad categories of research design (nonexperimental, quasi-experimental, and experimental) focuses on understanding how, when, and why research designs are used, and the types of questions each design can and cannot answer.
  • A guide at the front of the book, How to Use SPSS®  With This Book, provides students with an easy-to-follow, classroom-tested overview of how SPSS® is set up, how to read the Data View and Variable View screens, and how to use the SPSS® in Focus sections in the book.
  • SPSS® in Focus sections provide step-by-step instruction using practical research examples for how the data measured using various research designs taught in each chapter can be analyzed using SPSS®.
  • Learning Objectives organize student learning outcomes at the beginning of each chapter and are answered in chapter-concluding summaries.
  • Learning Checks with answer keys allow students to review what they learn as they learn it and actually confirm their understanding.
  • Making Sense sections break down the most difficult concepts to ease student stress and make research methods more approachable.
  • APA appendices support learning of APA style with a guide to grammar, punctuation, and spelling; a full sample APA-style manuscript from a study published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal; instructions for creating posters using PowerPoint®, and more.




The fourth edition provides substantive changes that have improved clarity of content, linkage to learning objectives, connections across the text for design and analysis, and scholarship substantially updated throughout. The changes allow for more comprehensive presentation of the material, based on years of feedback from colleagues, instructors, and students, that is more illustrative in nature and meaningful for students. Three major overarching themes to the revisions are apparent. A broad summary of changes in the fourth edition is given briefly here.

The first theme was to connect readers with a more comprehensive introduction to design and analysis for quantitative research by highlighting the assumptions for parametric testing in a new feature, Testing the Assumptions of Parametric Testing. This feature balances the coverage of this final analysis step in quantitative research by (1) making students aware of the assumptions, (2) connecting readers to where in the book they can learn about nonparametric alternatives to this testing, and (3) providing students with a more balanced perspective for choosing appropriate statistical analyses to analyze quantitative data.

Another theme in the writing of the fourth edition was that the figures, tables, and writing were revised to improve clarity throughout. Many revisions were specifically based on feedback from instructors and students, such as updating the example for distinguishing between basic and applied research, adding more examples to clarify between types of validity and reliability, pulling apart the sections on basic and control time series designs, expanding the section on writing valid and reliable survey items, and updating many examples for the experimental designs. Changes included revising figures and tables, in addition to revising and adding new content throughout to build strong writing around the content being presented, as per feedback from students and instructors.

A third theme was to align chapter content and learning objectives more closely throughout the book. Learning objectives have been integrated into the chapters to align them with content in each chapter. Learning checks now also align the section numbering, in that learning checks now follow each A-head level in the book. In all, over 100 learning checks have been added or revised, including new learning checks for the SPSS in Focus sections. Likewise, all end-of-chapter questions have been fully revised to bring them up to date with changes in the fourth edition. Revisions include incorporating more questions that apply the decision tree, aligning questions with learning objectives taught, and strengthening the overall quality, language, and clarity of questions in each chapter. In addition, the structure of questions was revised, often to accommodate a multiple-choice or single value answer format to align with electronic formats for the book, yet still test at all levels of Bloom’s taxonomy for chapter learning objectives.

The fourth theme that arose was updating scholarship throughout, and reflects changes from the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the APA. As disciplines in the behavioral sciences advance, it is important to link hypothesis methodology to current examples to help students (1) realize the value and real-world application of research design in the behavioral sciences and (2) connect students to examples in research that they can relate to their own experiences and interests. The scholarship was updated throughout with many new references added to reflect updated scholarship and perspectives, while also removing many references that are relatively outdated. The scholarship was updated both in the text and in the end-of-chapter problems to bolster student learning throughout the book.

In addition, many other changes were made to reflect recent advances or changes in the field. For example, SPSS version 29 made updates that changed not only the views but, in some cases, changed the selection options required to analyze data. Those changes are reflected in this fourth edition, both in the chapters and in Appendix C. In addition to highlighting the assumptions for parametric testing with quantitative methodologies, the qualitative sections were likewise revised to incorporate a strong focus on the holistic perspective of these methodologies and the general nature of conducting and interpreting such studies in the social behavioral sciences. Overall, the changes allow for a more comprehensive presentation of the material and scholarship based on years of feedback from colleagues, instructors, and students.

 

For instructors

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