You are here

Turning Ideas into Research

Turning Ideas into Research
Theory, Design and Practice

April 2015 | 184 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

How do you turn a really good idea into a really good question, and how do you turn this into successful research?


Barbara Fawcett and Rosalie Pockett use their expertise as supervisors and researchers to provide you with the frameworks and the theoretical and practical guidance you need to design, carry out and communicate your research effectively. Using a range of examples that relate research to the real world, they demonstrate:

  • how to develop research questions
  • how to select appropriate theoretical frameworks
  • how to integrate theoretical perspectives with empirical research
  • how to gather and interpret data
  • how to ensure that the research undertaken makes a difference.

The authors’ user-friendly approach emphasizes the importance of participation, collaboration and inclusivity, and examines worldviews and understandings of knowledge in order to enable greater critical reflection. Chapters provide guidance on achieving impact with your research, and feature reflective questions to enhance your engagement with the issues covered.


This text is the ideal companion as you set about transforming your ideas into robust research.

Part One: Thinking about research
Chapter One: Why do research?
Chapter Two: Partnerships in research
Chapter Three: Ethical considerations
Part Two: Thinking differently about knowledge and researching
Chapter Four: Creating viable research from good ideas
Chapter Five: Designing a research project: Qualitative researching
Chapter Six: Designing a research project: Quantitative and mixed method researching
Chapter Seven: Evaluative researching
Chapter Eight: Constructively and critically appraising research
Part Three: The impact of research
Chapter Nine: Research dissemination, sustainability, making a difference and writing for publication
Chapter Ten: Common pitfalls and dilemmas
Chapter Eleven: Concluding remarks

This unique research text begins and ends with respect for practitioners’ ideas and shows how they can be translated into practice-relevant knowledge.  It puts the practitioner into Practice-Research and makes a powerful contribution to a truly international Practice-Based Research Movement.

Irwin Epstein
Professor Emeritus, Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, City University of New York

Turning vague ideas into credible research that can influence policy and practice requires an understanding of both research methods and the requirements of stakeholders. In this innovative volume, Barbara Fawcett and Rosalie Pockett tackle these mysteries which too often confound novice researchers.

Professor Beth Crisp
Deakin University

Fawcett and Pockett’s book is designed to encourage practitioners to explore their important questions and create well-designed research projects. All the resources are here to help beginning researchers to get started. And best of all there is an emphasis on making an impact.

Liz Beddoe
Associate Professor, School of Counselling, Human Services and Social Work, University of Auckland

This new work by Fawcett and Pockett will inspire any practitioner who is wanting to engage in research but is unsure where and how to start. Its emphasis on working with core practice principles (respect and integrity in particular) throughout every step of the research process will encourage practitioners to engage in research. Both thinking about research, and doing it, are introduced in logical and accessible ways. Practitioners and research students will gain the confidence to translate their 'ideas into research' by reading this excellent text.

Lou Harms
Associate Professor, Department of Social Work, University of Melbourne

The book has much to offer students of social research methods, higher degree students undertaking social research projects, and social work and human service practitioners contemplating a research project. It also contains useful material for critical reflection for more established researchers, who might benefit by pausing to take stock and reflect on the wider context and impact of their endeavours. Others engaged in service delivery, program and policy development may also find it a useful resource in thinking about evidence informed practice.

Bruce Lord
Bruce Lord BSW (Hons), MSW, PhD, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney

Turning Ideas into Research offers a bundle of ideas that can help a novice researcher in particular. This target group can mainly draw a lot of ideas from the chapters on how to develop research questions and for what purpose, which theoretical framework you can choose and - if you have chosen a theoretical framework - what data you need to collect, how to interpret it , and how to take care of impact. I think that social scientists - who are at the beginning of their (promotional) course - will recognize and benefit from the booklet and the specific dilemmas that the authors name.

Astrid Molenveld

the benefit of not being encyclopedic about this [methods] is that Fawcett and Pockett are able to keep space for discussing pressing contextual issues in practitioner research [...] There’s a thoughtful critical tone here that reflects the contemporary neoliberal context but is not overwhelmed by it either.
An excellent introductory book that helps make research intelligible and do-able. Those new to research will enjoy it for that, and those who are not new will be impressed by the accessibility the book brings to the challenging contemporary complexities of knowledge-building.

Mark Brough
Queensland University of Technology
Australian Social Work

Unlike so many other introductory research books this is not a book that deals only in the techniques of research. There is a clear narrative in the text that is reflective of contemporary social tensions in research.

It's an excellent introductory book that helps make research intelligible and do-able. Those new to research will enjoy it for that, and those who are not new will be impressed by the accessibility the book brings to the challenging contemporary complexities of knowledge-building.

Cathy Humphreys
University of Melbourne
Australian Social Work Journal

Great for supporting dissertations at undergraduate and masters level

Mrs Victoria Brown
Primary Education Dept, University of St Mark And St John
June 12, 2020

This is a very good publication which enables students to develop their skills for research in education; providing clear examples of the process to explore new ways of thinking and to reflect on the experiences and information gathered through their chosen study.

Miss Tracey Canham
Health Care and Early Years, Swindon College
February 15, 2017

Sample Materials & Chapters

Turning Ideas into Research: Why do Research?

For instructors

Please select a format:

Select a Purchasing Option

ISBN: 9781446266717

ISBN: 9781446266700

SAGE Research Methods is a research methods tool created to help researchers, faculty and students with their research projects. SAGE Research Methods links over 175,000 pages of SAGE’s renowned book, journal and reference content with truly advanced search and discovery tools. Researchers can explore methods concepts to help them design research projects, understand particular methods or identify a new method, conduct their research, and write up their findings. Since SAGE Research Methods focuses on methodology rather than disciplines, it can be used across the social sciences, health sciences, and more.

With SAGE Research Methods, researchers can explore their chosen method across the depth and breadth of content, expanding or refining their search as needed; read online, print, or email full-text content; utilize suggested related methods and links to related authors from SAGE Research Methods' robust library and unique features; and even share their own collections of content through Methods Lists. SAGE Research Methods contains content from over 720 books, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks, the entire “Little Green Book,” and "Little Blue Book” series, two Major Works collating a selection of journal articles, and specially commissioned videos.