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Understanding Research



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  • Understanding Research, Books a la Carte
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    Understanding Research with MyResearchKit
  • Understanding Research
    Understanding Research


Understanding Researchis an accessible and visually-appealing introduction to research. Whether students become producers or consumers of research, this text shows them that the subject is both interesting and highly relevant for their lives and professional work.

Author Biography

W. Lawrence Neuman James is professor of sociology and Asian Studies coordinator at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. His M.A. and Ph.D. were earned at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He has authored seven books and published 35 articles and book chapters, which have appeared in Social Problems, Sociological Inquiry, Social Science Quarterly, American Sociological Review, Critical Asian Studies, Teaching Sociology, The Journal of Contemporary AsiaSociological Quarterly, and other journals . He is a former president of the Wisconsin Sociological Association. Neuman has received his university’s highest award for research, the Chancellor's Award for service to students with disabilities, as well as the the Wisconsin Sociological Association's Outstanding Service Award, and the College of Letters and Sciences awards for outstanding teaching, excellence in research, and outstanding service.

Table of Contents

Why do research?
On What Basis Do You Make Decisions?
How Do We Know What We Know?
Ways of Knowing Without Research Developing Critical Thinking Skills What is Empirical Social Research?
Research versus Empirical Social Research What do you need for Good Social Research?
Varieties of Social Research Fit the Question You Want to Answer With a Type of Social Research Exploring
Describing Explaining Evaluating Steps in the Research Process
What have you learned?
Applying what you learned
Planning a Study Picking a Study Topic Conducting a Review Past Studies Where do you find the research literature?
How to conduct a literature review: A six step process Focusing on a Research Question The Research Proposal
Becoming an Ethical Researcher
The Ethical Imperative Scientific Misconduct Unethical but Legal Ethical Issues Involving Research
Participants Protect Research
Participants from Harm Strict Limits to Using Deception in Research
Participation Should be Voluntary and Informed Protecting the Privacy of Research
Participant Information Extra Protections for Special Populations Formal Protections for Research
Participants Ethics and the Sponsors of Research Politics of Research
Value-Free and Objective Research
Sampling, How to select a few to represent the many How and Why do Samples Work?
Focusing on at a specific group: four types of non-random samples
Convenience Quota Purposive Snowball Coming to Conclusions about Large Populations
Why Use a Random Sample Types of Random Samples Three Specialized
Sampling Techniques Random Digit Dialing Within Household Samples
Sampling Hidden Populations Inferences from a Sample to a Population
How to Reduce Sampling Errors How Large Should My Sample Be?
How to Create a Zone of Confidence What Have You Learned?
Measuring Social Life, How Many?
How Much?
What Type?
Why Measure?
Making Aspects of the Social World Visible Measuring with Numbers or Words
How to Create Good Measures: Reliability and Validity A Guide to Quantitative Measures
How to create an Index How to create a Scale
What have you Learned?
The Survey: Asking People Questions What is a Social Survey?
How to Conduct a Survey Writing Good Survey Questions Effective Questionnaire
Design Tips Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Survey Formats Survey Interviewing
The Experiment Doing Experiments in Everyday Life
What Questions Can You Answer with the Experimental Method?
Why Assign People Randomly?
Do You Speak the Language of Experimental Design?
Experimental Validity Inside and Out
What You Can See In Experimental Results with Comparison
How to be Ethical in Experiments
What did you Learn?
Research With Non-Reactive
Measures Analyzing Physical Evidence for Clues About Social Life
Revealing the Content Buried Within Communication Messages
Mining Existing Statistical Sources to Answer
New Questions Answering
New Questions Using Survey Data Collected by Others
Conducting Ethical Non-Reactive Research Chap
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