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Research Design & Method Selection

Research Design & Method Selection
Making Good Choices in the Social Sciences

Other Titles in:
Research Design | Research Project

September 2018 | 368 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Heavily grounded in helping students make the best choices for their projects, this book explores how to develop and work with theory, research questions, and method selection to build solid, logical proposals and move from research concepts to fully realized designs.

Rather than rushing initial planning stages or reverse engineering questions from preferred methods, it encourages students to challenge unconscious biases around method selection and analysis and provides step-by-step guidance on choosing a method that is in-line with the question being explored. Focused on the role of the researcher within research design, it stresses the need to consider the theoretical underpinnings of research and not just practical issues when designing a project.

It provides a sophisticated toolkit to understand:

- The critical issues associated with both qualitative and quantitative methods

- The approach that works best for specific research questions

- How design choices can affect practice.

Perfect for upper undergraduate and postgraduate students, this book will instil confidence and good decision making to ensure constructively informed design and practice.


Chapter 1: Introduction: the Basics of Social Science Research Designs
Deductive and inductive research  
Explanatory and interpretative research designs  
Deductive, explanatory research designs and their core components  
Research design choices: x-centered and y-centered projects  
Quality criteria for social science research  
Chapter 2: Detecting Puzzles and Selecting Good Research Questions
Research questions’ essentials  
How to find empirical puzzles and select a good explanatory research question  
How to make choices: selecting good research questions  
Chapter 3: Working with Theories
Why do we need theories for explanatory social science projects?  
Selecting theories: how many and which ones do we need?  
Working with theories: how to develop and select hypotheses?  
Making choices: which and how many theories and hypotheses to use?  
Chapter 4: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed-Method Projects—How to Make the Choice
Advantages and disadvantages of quantitative and qualitative projects  
Mixed-method combinations: Advantages and challenges  
Qualitative, quantitative and mixed-method projects – How to make a choice?  
Chapter 5: How to Select Cases
What is a case?  
Case selection: An essential task for comparative research  
How many and which cases should be selected?  
Making choices: How to select cases?  
Chapter 6: Making Choices between Methods of Data Collection
The measurement of variables  
Overview of data sources and methods of data collection  
Databases and compendiums  
Primary Sources: Documents  
Surveys and questionnaires  
Focus groups  
Participant observation  
The importance of triangulation  
The importance of data management  
Summary – Choices on data collection  
Chapter 7: Making Choices between Qualitative Methods of Data Analysis
Types of Comparisons in Qualitative Case Studies  
Summary: Choosing between methods of qualitative analysis  
Chapter 8: Making Choices between Quantitative Methods of Data Analysis
Detecting variable types and describing variables  
Choosing between linear and logistic regression analysis  
Choosing between advanced methods of quantitative data analysis  
Chapter 9: Making Choices in Writing and Sharing Research
Writing techniques  
Disseminating research outputs  

This text provides user friendly illustrations, exercises and practical research tips. It consolidates understanding by simplifying what can, at times, be deemed as complex methodological issues. 

Rachael Aplin
Criminology, Leeds Beckett University

This textbook provides graduate students with tools to make sound decisions while planning, conducting and analysing research.  It guides students in asking appropriate research questions, applying theory, choosing among quantitative or qualitative methods through the analysis and writing the manuscript.

GinaMarie Piane
Community Health, National University

This textbook is a detailed guide on how to set up a research project. It is an excellent tool for students studying social research methods as well as for practitioners working with research in the government, NGO, and corporations.

Mikhail Balaev
Sociology, Flinders University

An essential text to support graduate students and novice researchers think critically about the multiple decisions required in designing a rigorous research study.

Susan Jack
Nursing, McMaster University

Very helpful resource book that helps to clarify research methods that is written in easily understood language.

Kim Moore
Faculty of Health, Birmingham City University
May 2, 2019

Very useful for initial research method clarification, and students find it helpful in their early methodology selection.

Mr Eamonn Colbert
School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment, Nottingham Trent University
October 17, 2018

I found this book immensely readable. It does not oversimplify or terrify a new post-graduate researcher seeking to identify what they don't know and consolidate what they do know. An ideal book for a reading list for those starting their doctoral training or those teaching postgraduates about research and researching.

Mrs Sally Howard
Department of Education, Oxford Brookes University
August 29, 2018

Very clear introduction to social science research with good diagrams and clearly written content.

Dr Paul Demetriou-Crane
Education, Havering College of Further and Higher Education
August 28, 2018

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