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Doing Research in Counselling and Psychotherapy

Doing Research in Counselling and Psychotherapy

Third Edition
Additional resources:

December 2014 | 288 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

From leading researcher and bestselling author, John McLeod, this substantially rewritten and restructured third edition is the most accessible and comprehensive 'how to' guide on conducting a successful research project in counselling and psychotherapy. Taking you step-by-step through the research process, this new edition includes:


  • A list of 9 basic principles for doing meaningful and practically useful research
  • Chapters on basic research skills: developing a research question, critically evaluating research studies, compiling a research proposal, using qualitative and quantitative methods, and fulfilling the requirements of ethics committees
  • Chapters on 5 main types of research product that can be accomplished by novice researchers: qualitative interview studies, systematic case studies, practice-based outcome research, autoethnographic inquiry, and publishable literature reviews
  • Guidance on how to get your work published.


Supported by a companion website ( offering relevant journal articles, sample ethical consent forms, links to open access research tools and more, this is an indispensable resource for any counselling trainee or practitioner learning about the research process for the first time.

John McLeod is Emeritus Professor of Counselling at the University of Abertay Dundee.


Doing Research in Counselling and Psychotherapy: Basic Principles
Reading the Literature: Placing Research in Context
Developing Your Research Question
The Research Proposal
Ethical Responsability
Criteria for Evaluating the Quality of a Research Study
Using Quantitative Methods
Using Qualitative Methods
Basic Research Tools
Carrying Out a Publishable Literature Review
Using Qualitative Interviews to Explore the Experience of Therapy
Evaluating Outcome: Practice-based Research
Carrying Out a Systematic Case Study
Using Personal Experience as a Basis for Research
Disseminating the Findings of your Research Study
Buinding on Basic Research Competence: Further Possibilities

The third edition of this book doesn’t disappoint.  The thoughtful and accessible manner in which it is written lends it to being a valuable and highly recommended resource.

Dr Claudie Fox
Programme Director, MSc in Clinical Applications of Psychology, University of Warwick

This easy to navigate, comprehensive and crucial resource is a masterpiece –  compelling for novice and experienced researchers alike. McLeod skilfully guides you through the process of planning, designing and developing your research study, through to dissemination of your knowledge findings. The insights offered inspire confidence even in the most apprehensive researcher. This is a classic, oozing with practical advice, underpinned by 9 key guiding principles.  Updated and rewritten to include an invaluable companion website – a must for every student and lecturer.


Dr. Marcella Finnerty
Programme Director, Institute of Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy, Dublin, Ireland

It is with pleasure I offer my endorsement to this latest offering from John McLeod, whether as a companion to his earlier An Introduction to Research in Counselling and Psychotherapy (2013), or as a stand-alone resource, this book offers counselling and psychotherapy students, practitioners and academics practical help not only in formulating a research project but also in orientating themselves to the becoming of a researcher. Another invaluable contribution to the field from McLeod. 

Dr Kathleen Gregory
Course Convener, Master of Counselling program, School of Psychology and Public Health, La Trobe University, Melbourne Australia

This book fully explores how to do research in counselling, therefore supports the research module on the BA(Hons) course

Mrs Susan Simpson
Scarborough Campus, Hull University
February 28, 2016

Excellent text. Very well-written. Recommended for counselling psychology trainees.

Dr Edith Steffen
Psychology, University of East London
June 23, 2015

This is a very clear and thorough book, well researched as is anything John McLeod writes.

Dr Bonnie Meekums
School of Healthcare, University of Leeds
March 2, 2015

A useful introductory text which is easily navigated.

Mrs Della Austin
School of Education and Community, Glyndwr University
February 24, 2015

Excellent introductory text. Significantly improved in the third edition

Dr Alistair Ross
Continuing Education, University of Oxford
February 12, 2015

This text continues to underpin research methods teaching in Counselling and Psychotherapy in an accessible and student friendly format

Mrs Jeanette MacNaught
Scarborough Centre for Health Care Studi, University of Hull
February 10, 2015

A good book that provides an sound introduction to counselling research

Mrs Anna-Marie Gillman
Health, Education and Social Sciences, Doncaster University Centre
February 5, 2015