Principles of Research in Behavioral Science: Third Edition, 3rd Edition (Hardback) book cover

Principles of Research in Behavioral Science

Third Edition

By Bernard E. Whitley, Jr., Mary E. Kite

© 2013 – Routledge

776 pages | 88 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2012-10-25
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About the Book

Intended for beginning graduate or advanced undergraduate students, this book provides a comprehensive review of research methods used in psychology and related disciplines. It covers topics that are often omitted in other texts including correlational and qualitative research and integrative literature reviews. Basic principles are reviewed for those who need a refresher. The focus is on conceptual issues – statistics are kept to a minimum. Featuring examples from all fields of psychology, the book addresses laboratory and field research. Chapters are written to be used independently, so instructors can pick and choose those that fit their course needs. Reorganized to parallel the steps of the research process, tips on writing reports are also provided. Each chapter features an outline, key terms, a summary, and questions and exercises that integrate chapter topics and put theory into practice. A glossary and an annotated list of readings are now included.

Extensively updated throughout, the new edition features a new co-author, Mary Kite, and:

• New chapters on qualitative research and content analysis and another on integrative literature reviews including meta-analysis, critical techniques for today’s research environment.

• A new chapter on exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis that addresses the use of path analysis and structural equation modeling.

• A new chapter on how to write a research report using APA style.

• Examples from cross-cultural and multi-cultural research, neuroscience, cognitive, and developmental psychology along with ones from social, industrial, and clinical psychology.

• More on Internet research and studies.

• Greatly expanded Part 3 on research designs with chapters on true experiments, field research, correlational and single-case designs, content analysis, and survey and qualitative research.

• A website with PowerPoint slides for each chapter, a test bank with short answer and multiple choice questions, additional teaching resources, and the tables and figures from the book for Instructor’s and chapter outlines, suggested readings, and links to related web sites for students.

Intended as a text for beginning graduate and/or advanced undergraduate courses in research methods or experimental methods or design taught in psychology, human development, family studies, education, or other social and behavioral sciences, a prerequisite of undergraduate statistics and a beginning research methods course is assumed.


“For breadth of coverage [this] is the best book on the market … I would use this book … in our basic methods course for first year graduate students. … There is a real need for this book, because of its superior breadth of coverage, superb organization, and excellent, intelligent presentation of a wide range of research methods issues, strategies, and techniques. … I reviewed many textbooks, including best sellers in the field, and chose Whitley. …. There is a real and appropriate difference in writing style and content from an introductory level research methods textbook.” – Ira Roseman, Rutgers University, USA

"The book is rare in that it targets beginning graduate students, fitting beautifully between the overly simple coverage in undergraduate texts and the combined methods-statistics graduate texts that tend to overwhelm new graduate students. … I would definitely adopt it. … The chapters are written clearly." Steven Prentice-Dunn, University of Alabama, USA

“I have been unsuccessful in finding another text that is written at a graduate student level that I like. … I will adopt the new Whitley and Kite textbook for my graduate course. … I like the broad coverage of the topics. It not only covers what many consider the basics of research methods … but it also addresses important topics such as responsibilities of researchers and literature reviews.” – Veanne N. Anderson, Indiana State University, USA

"It is very readable – it puts the methods within a context that my students can connect with; it is … broad but has a lot of depth. …. I will definitely use the new edition. ….The chapter on writing research reports is exceptional." – Debra Rickwood, University of Canberra, Australia

“This text is exceptionally well written. Students at many levels of academic ability should be able to … understand the core concepts. … [Featuring] broader coverage of concepts than other texts on the market … it should be a good reference for … undergraduate senior or … graduates … preparing for a master’s thesis or research project.” – Frances M. Sessa, Pennsylvania State University – Abington, USA

“[The] writing … is very clear and accessible. The level is appropriate for the intended audience of advanced undergraduate or beginning graduate students. …The detailed treatment of ethics is a real strength of the book.“ – Charles E. Collyer, University of Rhode Island, USA

"I have been using Whitley for several years. … I’ll continue to adopt it … The authors have done an excellent job of explaining … complicated methods and procedures from journal articles, simplifying them in a manner that enables my masters’ students to understand them. … Examples are engaging. … The chapters are structured in such a manner that enables me to include or omit what is most appropriate for my students. The material is very accessible for my master’s level students.” - Thomas Mitchell, University of Baltimore, USA

Table of Contents

Part 1: Introduction. 1. Behavioral Science. 2. Research Strategies. Part 2: Foundations of Research. 3. The Ethical Treatment of Research Participants. 4. The Professional and Social Responsibilities of Scientists. 5. Formulating a Research Question. 6. Developing a Measurement Strategy. 7. The Internal Validity of Research. 8. The External Validity of Research. Part 3: Research Designs. 9. True Experiments. 10. Field Research. 11. Correlational Designs. 12. Factor Analysis, Path Analysis, and structural Equation Modeling. 13. The Single Case Research Strategy. 14. Content Analysis, Qualitative Research, and Interviewing. 15. Survey Research. Part 4: Collecting and Interpreting Data. 16. Data Collection. 17. Interpreting Results. Part 5: Special Topics. 18. Evaluation Research. 19. Literature Reviewing. 20. Writing Research Reports

About the Authors

Bernard E. Whitley, Jr. is Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychological Science at Ball State University. He received his Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and charter member and Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science. His research interests include academic integrity and prejudice, and he has published in many journals including Psychological Bulletin, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. His other books include The Psychology of Prejudice and Discrimination, 2nd ed (2010) with Mary Kite; Academic Dishonesty: An Educator’s Guide (2002) with Patricia Keith-Spiegel; The Ethics of Teaching: A Casebook (2002) with Patricia Keith-Spiel, Arno Wittig, David Perkins, and Deborah Balogh (2002); and Handbook for Conducting Research on Human Sexuality (2002), edited with Michael Wiederman.

Mary Kite is Professor of Psychological Science at Ball State University. She received her Ph.D. from Purdue University. Her research focuses on stereotyping and prejudice. Strongly committed to psychology education, she is Past-President of The Society for the Teaching of Psychology (STP, APA Division 2). She also chaired the APA Presidential Task Force on Diversity Education Resources and was Secretary-Treasurer and President of the Midwestern Psychological Association (MPA). She is a Fellow of APA Divisions 2, 9, 35, & 44 and of the Association for Psychological Science and Midwest Psychological Association. She coauthored the second edition of The Psychology of Prejudice and Discrimination with Bernard E. Whitley, Jr.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Experimental Methods
PSYCHOLOGY / Research & Methodology

Instructor Resources

To gain access to the instructor resources for this title, please visit the Instructor Resources Download Hub.

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This book has been organized to mirror the steps of the research process, as you can see in the table of contents beginning on p. v. A review of basic principles is followed by sections on foundational issues involved in planning a research project, research designs, collecting and interpreting data and finally resources for writing and publishing a report.

Principles of Research in Behavioral Science covers the whole process of writing research reports (not just APA style, though it is included), so students gain the critical skills necessary to produce compelling writing rather than simply following a formula. p.624-625 shows a chapter outline for “Writing Research Papers,” which walks students through the process from planning through publication.

Each chapter includes a summary, suggestions for further reading, key terms and questions for review and discussion. For example, see the chapter on Factor Analysis, Path Analysis and Structural Equation Modeling at p. 358-361.

This edition features a greater variety of research examples from all areas of psychology including social, industrial-organizational, cognitive, developmental, and clinical psychology and neuroscience. For example, see the studies referenced on p. 399.

The Third Edition addresses both laboratory and field research including qualitative and mixed methods, so students are prepared to conduct research in either context. For example, see the explanation on p. 53.

To keep students up-to-date with the research trends and best practices, the authors have included new information on internet research. See p. 504 for an example.

Available for the first time with this edition, students and instructors can access online resources for the book on the Student/Instructor Resources tab. These include PowerPoint slides for each chapter, a test bank with short answer and multiple choice questions for instructors and chapter outlines, key terms, suggested readings, and links to related web sites for students.