The best decisions made by public 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 manager is often, therefore, based on the need for rigorous, actionable research. Now in a thoughtfully revised second edition, this textbook shows 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, Eller, Gerber, and Robinson present research methodologies through a series of real-life case studies, with each chapter exploring situations where a public manager can use research to answer specific questions, demonstrating 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, this new edition provides a complete guide to using research in the public and voluntary sectors. New to this edition:
- To better orient the student, the second edition is thematically arranged. Five sections, each with a short essay, provide not only previews of the content of each section, but more importantly guide the reader through how the concepts and techniques covered relate to real-world use and application.
- A new chapter on applied quantitative analyses has been added to offer coverage of several commonly-used and valuable analytic techniques for decision making for policy and management: benefit-cost analysis, risk assessment, and forecasting.
- The second edition is accompanied by online materials containing suggested course plans and sample syllabi, PowerPoint lecture slides, and student support materials to illustrate the application of key concepts and analytic techniques.
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.
Section 1. The Purpose and Value of Evaluation and Analytic Skills and their Use in Evidence in Decision-making
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
Section 2. The Basic Operations of Research: Setting Up a Project, Gathering Data
5. Research Design
7. Population Sampling
8. Case Studies
10. Field Research
11. Survey Data
Section 3. Estimating How the World Works: Testing Claims and Drawing Inferences
12. Coding and Data Display
13. Descriptive Statistics
14. Introduction to Probability and Distributions
15. Hypothesis Testing
16. Measures of Association
Section 4. Advanced Quantitative Techniques and Applied Decision Tools
17. Simple Linear Regression
18. Multiple Least Squares Regression Analysis
19. Applied Decision Tools
20. Mixing Research Methods
Section 5. Managing Project, Completing Projects
21. Managing Research and Evaluation Projects
22. Presenting Research: Writing and Speaking in Policy and Management Settings
23. Conclusion: Bringing It All Together