Understanding Research Methods : An Overview of the Essentials book cover
10th Edition

Understanding Research Methods
An Overview of the Essentials

ISBN 9780415790529
Published July 5, 2017 by Routledge
352 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

A perennial bestseller since 1997, this updated tenth edition of Understanding Research Methods provides a detailed overview of all the important concepts traditionally covered in a research methods class. It covers the principles of both qualitative and quantitative research, and how to interpret statistics without computations, so is suitable for all students regardless of their math background. The book is organized so that each concept is treated independently and can be used in any order without resulting in gaps in knowledge—allowing it to be easily and precisely adapted to any course.

It uses lively examples on contemporary topics to stimulate students’ interest, and engages them by showing the relevance of research methods to their everyday lives. Numerous case studies and end-of-section exercises help students master the material and encourage classroom discussion.

The text is divided into short, independent topic sections, making it easy for you to adapt the material to your own teaching needs and customize assignments to the aspect of qualitative or quantitative methods under study—helping to improve students’ comprehension and retention of difficult concepts. Additional online PowerPoint slides and test bank questions make this a complete resource for introducing students to research methods.


New to this edition:

  • New topic section on design decisions in research
  • Additional material on production of knowledge and research methods
  • Significant development of material on ethical considerations in research
  • Fresh and contemporary examples from a wide variety of real, published research
  • Topic-specific exercises at the end of each section now include suggestions for further steps researchers can take as they build their research project.

Table of Contents

Part A Introduction to Research Methods

1. Knowledge and Research Methods

2. Empirical Research

3. The Role of Theory in Research

4. Experimental and Nonexperimental Studies

5. Causal-Comparative Studies

6. Types of Nonexperimental Research

7. Quantitative and Qualitative Research: Key Differences

8. Quantitative and Qualitative Research Decisions

9. Program Evaluation

10. The Development of Ethical Research Standards

11. Ethical Principles in Research

Part B Reviewing and Citing the Literature

12. Why Researchers Review Literature

13. Locating Literature in Electronic Databases

14. Structuring the Literature Review

15. Connecting the Literature to Your Study

16. Preparing to Write a Critical Review

17. Creating a Synthesis

18. Why Academics Use Citation

19. Introduction to Style Guides

Part C Basic Concepts in Quantitative Research

20. Decisions in Quantitative Research Design

21. Variables in Nonexperimental Studies

22. Variables in Experimental Studies

23. Operational Definitions of Variables

24. Research Hypotheses, Purposes, and Questions

Part D Sampling

25. Biased and Unbiased Sampling

26. Simple Random and Systematic Sampling

27. Stratified Random Sampling

28. Cluster Sampling

29. Nonprobability Sampling and Qualitative Research

30. Sampling and Demographics

31. Sample Composition and Bias

32. Sample Size in Quantitative Studies

33. Sample Size and Diversity in Qualitative Research

34. Sampling in the Modern World

Part E Measurement

35. Introduction to Validity

36. Judgmental Validity

37. Empirical Validity

38. Judgmental-Empirical Validity

39. Reliability and its Relationship to Validity

40. Measures of Reliability

41. Internal Consistency and Reliability

42. Norm- and Criterion-referenced Tests

43. Measures of Optimum Performance

44. Measures of Typical Performance

45. Measurement in Qualitative Research

Part F Qualitative Research Design

46. Interviews in Qualitative Research

47. Other Methods for Collecting Qualitative Data

48. Grounded Theory and Research Design

49. Consensual Qualitative Research Design

50 Designing Case Studies

51. Mixed Methods Designs

Part G Designing Experimental Research

52. True Experimental Designs

53. Threats to Internal Validity

54. Threats to External Validity

55. Pre-experimental Designs

56. Quasi-experimental Designs

57. Confounding in Experiments

Part H Analyzing Data: Understanding Statistics

58. Descriptive and Inferential Statistics

59. Understanding Probability in Statistics

60. Introduction to the Null Hypothesis

61. Scales of Measurement

62. Descriptions of Nominal Data

63. Shapes of Distributions

64. The Mean, Median, and Mode

65. The Mean and Standard Deviation

66. The Median and Interquartile Range

67. The Chi-Square Test

68. The Bivariate Chi Square Test and Types of Error

69. The t Test

70. The Pearson Correlation Coefficient

71. One-Way Analysis of Variance

72. Two-Way Analysis of Variance

73. Basic Regression

74. Practical Significance of Results

Part I Effect Size and Meta-analysis

75. Introduction to Effect Size (d )

76. Interpretation of Effect Size (d )

77. Effect Size and Correlation (r)

78. Introduction to Meta-Analysis

79. Meta-analysis and Effect Size

80. Meta-analysis: Strengths and Weaknesses

Part J Preparing Research Reports

81. The Structure of a Research Report

82. Writing Abstracts

83. Introduction and Literature Review

84. Describing Participants

85. Describing Measures

86. Reporting Research Results

87. Writing the Discussion

88. Preparing Theses and Dissertations



A Databases for Locating Literature

B Electronic Sources of Statistical Information

C Excerpts From Literature Reviews

D Sample Abstracts of Research Reports

E Introduction to APA Style

F Introduction to ASA Style



Table of Random Numbers (in Topic 32)

Table of Recommended Sample Sizes (in Topic 38)

Table of Statistical Tests (in Topic 61)



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Michelle Newhart teaches sociology as an adjunct professor and works as an instructional designer at Mt. San Antonio College, a large, two-year college in California. A contributor to more than a dozen nonfiction books as either an author or editor, she holds a BA in sociology from the University of Missouri and an MA and PhD in sociology from the University of Colorado Boulder.


"The tenth edition of Understanding Research Methods by Mildred L. Patten and Michelle Newhart provides a significant update and reorganization of the content provided in earlier editions. The text’s logical organization will be beneficial to students and instructors in developing students’ grasp and comprehension of research methodology. I am anxious to use the text with my students!"

-Richard C. Meyer, Ed.D., Associate Professor and Chair of Educational Administration, University of Nebraska Kearney


"I enjoyed reading this book. I recommend this book to instructors of statistics courses, research methodology, sampling, and computing professionals."

-Ramalingam Shanmugam, School of Health Administration, Texas State University, USA