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100 Questions (and Answers) About Research Methods



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SAGE Publications, Inc
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In an increasing data driven world, it is more important than ever for students as well as professionals to better understand the process of research, from the initial asking of questions through the analysis and interpretation of data leasing to a final report, and everything in between. 100 Questions (and Answers) about Research Methods summarizes the most important questions that lie in those inbetween spaces that one could ask about research methods while providing an answer as well. This is a short book and intended for those individuals who need a refresher as to what the important topics are within this area of study as well as for those who are entirely new to the discipline and need a resource as to what the key questions are that one might ask. It#xE2;#xAC;"s for graduate students preparing for comprehensive exams, researchers who need a reference, undergraduates in affiliated programs who will not be taking a primary course in research methods and anyone curious about how these tools can most effectively be used.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
About the Authorp. xiv
Understanding the Research Process and Getting Startedp. 1
Why Is Research Necessary, and What Are Some of Its Benefits?p. 3
Generally, What Is the Process Through Which a Research Topic Is Identified, and Do I Have to Be an Experienced Researcher to Select a Topic of Interest to Me?p. 4
What Is the "Scientific Method," and How Can I Apply That to My Own Research?p. 5
There Are Different Types of Research Models That One Might Use. Can You Give Me a General Overview and How They Might Compare?p. 6
What Is the Best Research Model for My Purposes?p. 8
What Is the Difference Between Basic and Applied Research?p. 10
What Is Qualitative Research, and What Are Some Examples?p. 11
What Are Hypotheses, and How Do They Fit Into the Scientific Method?p. 12
What Do Good Research Hypotheses Do?p. 13
Besides Looking at the Reputation of a Journal Where a Study Is Published as One Criterion for a Good Study, Are There Other Things That I Can Look To?p. 15
I Hear So Much About Different Studies¨From the Newspaper, From Professional Bulletins, and Even From My Boss. What Am I Supposed to Believe, and How Can I Judge if the Results of a Study Are Useful?p. 17
What Are Some of the Best Ways to Find Information Online, and Where Are Some of the Best Places?p. 19
What Role Might Social Media Play in My Efforts as Both a Researcher and a Consumer?p. 21
Reviewing and Writing about your Research Questionp. 23
What Is a Review of the Literature, and Why Is It Important?p. 25
How Does a Review of the Literature Have an Impact on My Research Question and the Hypothesis I Propose?p. 26
How Do I Know When My Literature Review Is Finished? Couldn't It Go on Forever?p. 28
What Are the Three Main Sources of Information, and What Part Does Each Play in Creating a Literature Review?p. 30
What Steps Should I Take in Writing My Review of Literature?p. 31
What Are Some of the Best Electronic Resources Available, and How Do I Learn to Use Them?p. 33
Introductory Ideas About Ethicsp. 35
What Are Some of the More General and Important Principles of Ethical Research?p. 37
What Is Informed Consent, and What Does It Consist Of?p. 38
What Special Attention Should I Give to Ethical Concerns When Children or Special Populations Are Involved, and What Should the Parents or Legal Guardian Know?p. 39
What Are Some Examples of the Most Serious Ethical Lapses?p. 41
What Is an Institutional Review Board or IRB, and How Does It Work?p. 42
What Are the Important Elements of an IRB Application?p. 43
Research Methods: Knowing the Language, knowing the ideasp. 45
Why Do All These Questions and Answers on Research Methods Have Any Relevance for Me?p. 47
I Have So Many Ideas I Want to Study. How Can I Decide Which One Is Best?p. 49
In Beginning My Research Work, Can I Focus Just on One Tiny, Little, Narrow Topic or Reach for the Stars and Be Broad and General? And, I Know the Library Is a Terrific Place to Start My Research Work, but Do I Have to Visit the Bricks-and-Mortar Buildings on Campus or Can I Just Work Remotely?p. 51
What Is a Null Hypothesis, and Why Is It Important?p. 53
What Is a Research Hypothesis, and What Are the Different Types?p. 54
What Is Similar, and What Is Different, About a Null and a Research Hypothesis?p. 55
How Can I Create a Good Research Hypothesis?p. 57
What Is the "Gold Standard" of Research Methods?p. 58
Can You Help Me Understand Which Method Best Fits Which Type of Question Being Asked?p. 59
What Are the Different Types of Variables, and What Are They Used For?p. 61
What Is an Independent Variable, and How Is It Used in the Research Process?p. 62
What Is a Dependent Variable, and What Does the Researcher Need to Be Careful About When Selecting and Using Dependent Variables?p. 64
What Is the Relationship Between Independent and Dependent Variables?p. 65
In an Experiment, How Does the Notion of a Control and an Experimental Group Fit Into the Scientific Method?p. 67
Sampling Ideas And Issuesp. 69
What Is the Difference Between a Sample and a Population, and Why Are Samples Important?p. 71
What Is the Purpose of Sampling, and What Might Go Wrong During the Process?p. 72
What Is Sampling Error, and Why Is It Important?p. 73
What Are Some of the Different Types of Sampling?p. 74
What Is Random Sampling, and Why Is It So Useful?p. 75
How Does Stratified Random Sampling Work, and When Should I Use It?p. 76
How Can I Be Sure That the Sample of Participants, Which Is Part of a Study, Accurately Represents a Larger Group of People for Whom Those Results Would Be Important?p. 77
I've Heard Quite a Bit About the Importance of Sample Size. What's That All About?p. 78
How Big of a Sample Is Big Enough?p. 80
How Important Is Big?p. 81
Describing Data using Descriptive Techniquesp. 83
What Are Descriptive Statistics, and How Are They Used?p. 85
What Are Measures of Central Tendency, and How Are They Computed?p. 86
How Do I Decide Whether to Use the Mean, Mode, or Median as a Measure of Central Tendency?p. 87
What Are the Most Often Used Measures of Variability, and How Are They Computed?p. 89
How Do I Use the Mean and the Standard Deviation to Describe a Set of Data?p. 90
What Is a Normal Curve, and What Are Its Characteristics?p. 92
If a Distribution of Scores Is Not Normal (or Not Bell Shaped), How Can the Ideas on Which Inference Is Based Be Applied?p. 94
What Does It Mean When a Distribution Is Skewed?p. 95
I'm Looking for a Visual Way to Describe Data. What Are Some of My Choices?p. 97
What Is a Standard Score, and Why Is It Important?p. 99
What Are Some of the More Common Standard Scores, and How Are They Used?p. 100
All About Testing And Measuringp. 103
There is a Particular Outcome That I Want to Measure, but I Have No Idea Where I Can Find Out Whether or Not There Are Existing Measures. Where Do I Look to Find Suggestions as to What Dependent Variable I Should Use?p. 105
What Are the Different Levels of Measurement, and How Are They Used?p. 107
What Is Reliability?p. 108
What Are Some of the Different Types of Reliability and When Are They Used?p. 109
How Are Reliability Coefficients Interpreted?p. 111
What Are Some of the Different Types of Validity, and When Are They Used?p. 113
What Is Criterion Validity, and How Do the Two Types of Criterion Validity, Concurrent and Predictive, Differ?p. 114
What Is the Difference Between a Norm-Referenced and a Criterion-Referenced Test?p. 115
What Is Construct Validity, and Why Is It Especially Appropriate for Establishing the Validity of Psychological Tests?p. 116
How Are Different Types of Validity Established?p. 117
How Do Reliability and Validity Work Together?p. 119
How Can I Find Out If a Test Is Reliable and Valid?p. 121
What Are Some of the Different Types of Tests, and How Are They Used?p. 122
When It Comes to Measuring Attitude, What Is the Difference Between a Likert and a Thurstone Scale?p. 124
What Is Item Analysis, and How Is It Used in Evaluating Achievement Tests?p. 125
What Is a Percentile or a Percentile Rank?p. 127
What Is Adaptive Testing?p. 128
What Is the FairTest Movement, and What Are Its Basic Goals?p. 129
Where Do I Find a Collection of Tests From Which to Choose? And, How Do I Go About Selecting One?p. 130
Understanding Different Research methodsp. 133
What Is an Experimental Design, and What Is the Difference Between the Major Types of Experimental Designs?p. 135
What Is a One-Shot Case Study, and What Are Some of the Advantages and Disadvantages of Using This Design?p. 137
I Know What Correlational Research Methods Are. When and How Are They Used?p. 138
I Know That Correlations Reflect the Association Between Two Variables, but How Do I Interpret Them?p. 140
What Is an Example of a Quasi-Experimental Design, and When Is It Appropriate to Use It?p. 142
What Is Internal Validity, and Why Is It Important in Experimental Design?p. 144
What Is External Validity, and Why Is It Important in Experimental Design?p. 145
What Is the Trade-Off Between Internal and External Validity?p. 146
All About Inference And Significancep. 147
What Is Statistical Significance, and Why Is It Important?p. 149
In Research Reports, I Often See Entries Such as p = .042 and df(22) What Do They Mean?p. 150
How Do Statistical Programs Such as SPSS Display Significance Levels?p. 152
What Other Types of Errors Should Be Considered as Part of the Research Process?p. 154
What Is Power, and Why Is It Important?p. 156
What Are Some of the Other Popular Statistical Tests, and When Are They Used?p. 157
What Is Regression, and How Is It Used?p. 159
What Is the Difference Between a Parametric and a Nonparametric Test?p. 161
I Often See the Term "Statistical Significance" Being Used in Journal Articles. What Is It, and Why Is It Important?p. 163
How Can I Tell If an Outcome Is Statistically Significant?p. 164
What Is Effect Size?p. 166
What Is the Difference Between Statistical Significance and Meaningfulness?p. 167
Why Are the Values of .01 and .05 Usually Used as Conventional Levels of Statistical Significance?p. 168
Indexp. 169
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