Public Administration Research Methods
Tools for Evaluation and Evidence-Based Practice
Routledge – 2013 – 436 pages
The best decisions made by public sector managers are based not on instinct, but on an informed understanding of what’s happening on the ground. Policy may be directed by ideology, but it must also be founded on reality. The challenge of making the right decisions as a public sector manager are often, therefore, based on the need for rigorous, actionable research. In this major new textbook, Eller, Gerber, and Robinson show students of Public Administration exactly how to use both qualitative and quantitative research techniques to give them the best chance to make the right decisions.
Uniquely, the book presents the various methodologies through a series of real-life case studies, with each chapter exploring the types of situations where a public sector manager can use research to answer specific questions, and how that research can inform future policy. Taking readers through the key concepts, from research design and sampling to interviews, survey data, and more statistical-based approaches, the book builds to provide the complete guide to using research in the public and voluntary sectors. Each chapter also includes discussion questions, class exercises, end of chapter review questions, and key vocabulary to provide students with a range of further tools to apply research principles to practical situations.
Readers of the print book will also have automatic access to an interactive electronic version, which will include not only hyperlinks to further reading, but access to a series of data sets to enable practice using the statistical methodologies outlined in the text.
Public Administration Research Methods: Tools for Evaluation and Evidence-Based Practice is the most accessible and comprehensive research methods textbook available to students of Public Administration and will be essential reading not only to students during their studies, but also as a companion in their future careers
"Eller, Gerber, and Robinson have written an accessible and skills based text for 21st century students. They clearly explain why research skills are important, including both quantitative and qualitative methods, and then deftly incorporate case studies to not only develop particular skill sets but also to illustrate how these skills are relevant for the workplace. This text presents a real challenge to the existing texts in the marketplace."
—Donald Haider-Markel, University of Kansas
"Developing a research methods textbook for Public Administration can be a daunting task, but the authors of Public Administration Research Methods: Tools for Evaluation and Evidence-Based Practice have done an excellent job of making the material approachable for students, relevant to professionals, and still appropriately rigorous. I strongly endorse this textbook."
—Skip Krueger, University of North Texas
"This book provides key concepts and methods to address the growing need for data-driven decision-making. The content is presented clearly and conveys essential aspects of statistical and other research procedures."
—Mack Shelley, Iowa State University
"Public Administration Research Methods would be a wonderful guidance textbook for students who want to build a strong foundation of research techniques and know the proper direction of quantitative and qualitative research analyses. The book’s various empirical case study examples help students to understand the practical application of research analysis."
—Edward Kwon, Northern Kentucky University
"Public Administration Research Methods: Tools for Evaluation and Evidence-Based Practice provides students of public management with broad coverage of the basic tools for conducting research in understandable style and with lots of interesting everyday life examples."
—Augustine Hammond, Augusta State University
1. Introduction: What is Research?; 2. Evidence-Based Practice for Public Affairs; 3. The Research Process: An Introduction to Key Concepts; 4. Conducting Preliminary Research; 5. Research Design; 6. Measurement; 7. Population Sampling; 8. Case Studies; 9. Interviews; 10. Field Research; 11. Survey Data; 12. Coding and Data Display; 13. Descriptive Statistics; 14. Introduction to Probability and Distributions; 15. Hypothesis Testing; 16. Measures of Association; 17. Simple Linear Regression; 18. Multiple Least Squares Regression Analysis; 19. Mixing Research Methods; 20. Managing Research & Evaluation Projects; 21. Presenting Research; 22. Conclusion: Bringing It All Together
Warren S. Eller is Associate Professor in the Department of Public Administration at the University of North Carolina, Pembroke, USA.
Brian J. Gerber is Associate Professor and Executive Director of the Buechner Institute for Governance at the School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado–Denver, USA.
Scott E. Robinson is Associate Professor at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, USA.
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