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Research Methods for Education

Research Methods for Education

February 2018 | 800 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
From award-winning author Gregory J. Privitera and Lynn Ahlgrim-Delzell, Research Methods for Education covers the different quantitative and qualitative research methods specific to their use in educational research. This new text uses a problem-focused approach that fully integrates the decision tree—from choosing a research design to selecting an appropriate statistic for analysis. 

With a conversational, student-friendly writing style, and examples from a wide variety of education-related fields, the authors show how methods and statistics work together and enable the testing of hypotheses through use of the scientific method. Students will become informed consumers of research with the ability to understand a research article, judge its quality and apply the methods in action research to inform educational practice.

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About the Authors
Chapter 1—Introduction to Scientific Thinking
1.1 Science as a Method of Knowing

1.2 The Scientific Method: Relevance in Educational Research

1.3 Other Methods of Knowing

1.4 The Goals of Science

1.5 Approaches in Acquiring Knowledge

1.6 Distinguishing Science From Pseudoscience

Chapter 2—Generating Testable Ideas
2.1 Generating Interesting and Novel Ideas

2.2 Converting Ideas to Hypotheses and Theories

2.3 Developing Your Idea: Deduction and Induction

2.4 Performing a Literature Review

2.5 Ethics in Focus: Giving Proper Credit

2.6 The “3 Cs” of an Effective Literature Review

2.7 Testing Your Idea: Confirmation and Disconfirmation

2.8 Ethics in Focus: Publication Bias

Chapter 3—Research Ethics
3.1 Ethics in Educational Research

3.2 The Need for Ethics Committees in Research: A Historical Synopsis

3.3 Ethics in Focus: Classic Examples From Psychology

3.4 Human Participant Research: IRBs and the AERA Code of Conduct

3.5 Ethics in Focus: Anonymity and Confidentiality

3.6 Additional Ethical Considerations: Scientific Integrity

Chapter 4—Scientific Variables, Validity, and Reliability
4.1 Criteria for Defining and Measuring Variables

4.2 Constructs and Operational Definitions

4.3 Types of Variables

4.4 Scales of Measurement

4.5 Reliability of a Measurement

4.6 Validity of a Measurement

4.7 Intervention Fidelity

4.8 Selecting a Measurement Procedure

4.9 Ethics in Focus: Replication as a Gauge for Fraud?

Chapter 5—Instrumentation
5.1 Classifying Data Collection Instruments

5.2 Tests and Measures

5.3 Types of Questionnaire Items

5.4 Rules for Writing Survey Items

5.5 Administering Questionnaires

5.6 Interviewing

5.7 Ethics in Focus: Maintaining Confidentiality of Collected Data

Chapter 6—Sampling From Populations
6.1 Why Do Researchers Select Samples?

6.2 Subjects, Participants, and Sampling Methods

6.3 Methods of Sampling: Nonprobability Sampling

6.4 Methods of Sampling: Probability Sampling

6.5 Sampling Error and Standard Error of the Mean

6.6 Potential Biases in Sampling

6.7 Ethics in Focus: Research in Schools

Chapter 7—Choosing a Research Design
7.1 Designing a Study to Answer a Question

7.2 Categories of Research Design

7.3 Internal and External Validity

7.4 Demonstrating Cause in an Experiment

7.5 Ethics in Focus: Beneficence and Random Assignment

7.6 Threats to the Internal Validity of a Research Study

7.7 Threats to the External Validity of a Research Study

7.8 External Validity, Experimentation, and Realism

7.9 A Final Thought on Validity and Choosing a Research Design

Chapter 8—Naturalistic and Existing Data Research Designs
Naturalistic Designs

8.1 An Overview of Naturalistic Design

8.2 The Research Setting: Natural and Contrived Settings

8.3 Techniques for Making Unobtrusive Observations

8.4 Making Observations

8.5 Ethics in Focus: Influencing Participant Behavior

Existing Data Designs

8.6 An Overview of Existing Data Designs

8.7 Archival Research, Content Analysis, and Meta-Analysis

8.8 Ethics in Focus: Existing Data and Experimenter Bias

Chapter 9—Survey and Correlational Research Designs
Survey Designs

9.1 An Overview of Survey Designs

9.2 Surveys, Sampling, and Nonresponse Bias

9.3 Survey Methods

9.4 Ethics in Focus: Handling and Administering Surveys

Correlational Designs

9.5 The Structure of Correlational Designs

9.6 Describing the Relationship Between Variables

9.7 Limitations in Interpretation

9.8 Correlation, Regression, and Prediction

Chapter 10—Introduction to Qualitative Research
10.1 What Is Qualitative Research?

10.2 Foundations of Qualitative Research

10.3 Theoretical Perspectives in Qualitative Research

10.4 Steps in Qualitative Research

10.5 Role of the Researcher and Entry Into the Field

10.6 Sampling in Qualitative Research

10.7 Types of Qualitative Data

10.8 Ethics in Focus: Using the Internet in Qualitative Research

Chapter 11—Phenomenology, Ethnography, and Ground Theory Designs
11.1 An Overview of Phenomenology Designs

11.2 An Example of Phenomenology Research

11.3 Considerations for Participant Self-Descriptions

11.4 An Overview of Ethnography Designs

11.5 Making Observations in Group Settings

11.6 An Example of Ethnography Research

11.7 An Overview of Netnography and Autoethnography Research

11.8 An Overview of Grounded Theory Designs

11.9 An Example of Grounded Theory Designs

11.10 Ethics in Focus: Anonymity in Qualitative Research

Chapter 12—Narrative Inquiry, Case Study, and Critical Theory Designs
Narrative Research Designs

12.1 An Overview of Narrative Research

12.2 Considerations for Narrative Inquiry

12.3 An Example of Narrative Research

Case Study Designs

12.4 An Overview of Case Study Designs

12.5 Types of Case Study Designs

12.6 Combining Case Study Design With Quantitative Data

Critical Theory Designs

12.7 An Overview of Critical Theory Designs

12.8 Types of Critical Theory Designs

12.9 Ethics in Focus: Retelling Human

Chapter 13—Quasi-Experimental and Single-Case Experimental Designs
Quasi-Experimental Designs

13.1 An Overview of Quasi-Experimental Designs

13.2 One-Group Designs

13.3 Quasi-Experimental Design: Nonequivalent Control Group Designs

13.4 Quasi-Experimental Design: Time-Series Designs

Single-Case Experimental Designs

13.5 An Overview of Single-Case Designs

13.6 Single-Case Baseline-Phase Designs

13.7 Application of Single-Case Designs in an Applied School Setting

13.8 Single-Case Designs in the Identification of Effective

13.9 Validity, Stability, Magnitude, and Generality

13.10 Ethics in Focus: The Ethics of Innovation

Chapter 14—Experimental Designs: Between Subjects, Within Subjects, and Factorial
14.1 Conducting Experiments: Between-Subjects Design

14.2 Experimental Versus Control Group

14.3 Manipulation, Variability, and the Independent Variable

14.4 Ethics in Focus: The Accountability of Manipulation

14.5 Comparing Two or More Independent Samples

14.6 Conducting Experiments: Within-Subjects Design

14.7 Controlling Time-Related Factors

14.8 Comparing Two or More Related Samples

14.9 Comparing Between-Subjects and Within-Subjects Designs

14.10 Conducting Experiments: Factorial Experimental Designs

14.11 Types of Factorial Designs

14.12 Including Quasi-Independent Factors in an Experiment

14.13 Higher-Order Factorial Designs

Chapter 15—Mixed-Methods Research Designs
15.1 An Overview of Mixed-Methods Research Designs

15.2 When Use of Mixed-Methods Research Designs Is Appropriate

15.3 Advantages and Disadvantages of Using a Mixed-Methods Research Design

15.4 Types of Mixed-Methods Research Designs

15.5 Conducting Mixed-Methods Research

15.6 Ethics in Focus: Minimizing Risk Associated With Qualitative and Quantitative Research

Chapter 16—Action Research
16.1 The Fundamentals of Action Research

16.2 Types of Action Research

16.3 The Process of Conducting Action Research

16.4 Ethics in Focus: Ethical Considerations in Action Research

16.5 Evaluation of Action Research

Chapter 17—Program Evaluation
17.1 The Fundamentals of Program Evaluation

17.2 Difference Between Program Evaluation and Research

17.3 Program Evaluation Standards

17.4 Utility and Importance of Program Evaluation

17.5 Ethics in Focus: Considerations for Protecting the Welfare of Stakeholders

17.6 Models for Program Evaluation

17.7 Steps in Program Evaluation

Chapter 18—Analysis and Interpretation: Exposition of Data
18.1 Descriptive Statistics: Why Summarize Data?

18.2 Frequency Distributions: Tables and Gra

18.3 Measures of Central Tendency

18.4 Measures of Variability

18.5 Graphing Means and Correlations

18.6 Using Correlation to Describe Reliability

18.7 Standard Scores, z Scores, Percentile Ranks, and Age/Grade Equivalents

18.8 Ethics in Focus: Deception Due to the Distortion of Data

Chapter 19—Analysis and Interpretation: Making Inferences About Data
19.1 Inferential Statistics: What Are We Making Inferences About?

19.2 Types of Error and Power

19.3 Parametric Tests: Applying the Decision Tree

19.4 Main Effects and Interactions

19.5 Identifying Main Effects and Interactions in a Graph

19.6 Correlation and Regression

19.7 Nonparametric Tests: Applying the Decision Tree

19.8 Effect Size: How Big Is an Effect in the Population?

19.9 Estimation: What Are the Possible Values of a Parameter?

19.10 Confidence Intervals, Significance, and Effect Size

19.11 Issues for Interpretation: Precision and Certainty

19.12 Ethics in Focus: Full Disclosure of Data

Chapter 20—Analysis and Interpretation: Making Inferences About Qualitative Data
20.1 Qualitative Versus Quantitative Data Analysis

20.2 Decisions About How to Record Narrative Data

20.3 Decisions About Quantitative Data Analysis and Interpretation

20.4 General Process of Qualitative Data Analysis

20.5 Qualitative Coding Tools

20.6 Interpretations Made Using Different Qualitative Designs in the Data Analysis Process

20.7 Criteria of Trustworthiness

20.8 Ethics in Focus: Confidentiality

Chapter 21—Communicating Research: Preparing Manuscripts, Posters, and Talks
21.1 Elements of Communication

21.2 Writing a Manuscript: Writing Style and Language

21.3 Elements of an APA-Style Manuscript

21.4 Literature Reviews

21.5 Reporting Observations in Qualitative Research

21.6 Ethics in Focus: Credit and Authorship

21.7 Presenting a Poster

21.8 Giving a Professional Talk

Appendix A: APA-Style Writing, Sample Manuscript, and Posters
A.1 Essentials for Writing APA-Style Research Papers

A.2 Grammar, Punctuation, and Spelling (GPS) Writing Guide

A.3 Sample APA-Style Manuscript

A.4 Poster Template and Sample Poster

Appendix B: Instructions for Randomizing and Counterbalancing
B.1 Random Numbers Table

B.2 Constructing a Latin Square



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  • Mobile-friendly practice quizzes allow for independent assessment by students of their mastery of course material.
  • Learning objectives reinforce the most important material.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter is included.
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  • Test banks provide a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • Sample course syllabi for semester and quarter courses provide suggested models for structuring your courses.
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for your course.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter is included.
  • An Instructor's Manual provides chapter outlines, learning objectives, and lecture suggestions in support of the learning objectives to help you prepare to teach the course.
  • An Answer Key provides answers to all of the review questions in the textbook.

“A great text to highlight the applied nature of research methods in education.”

Travis Crone
University of Houston-Downtown

“Outstanding, clear, easy to read, and user-friendly for students. The activities and review questions provide very good reinforcement of the content. Students will love this text and it will make the course fun to teach.”

Dr. Gary Reglin
Nova Southeastern University

“This text is very readable and accessible to nearly every student, and filled with clear, direct explanations of all the basic terminology of educational research. It also provides excellent examples to illustrate the application of the contents of the course to actual research situations in education.”

Laurence G. Zoeckler, PhD
Utica College

“The book is highly understandable with clear definitions and examples of concepts and how to conduct components of various types of educational research. The pedagogical features allow students to learn the materials in an effective manner. [It is] a very user-friendly text for students who might be intimidated by having to take a research course.”

Maryann Dudzinski
Valparaiso University

“The text is very well organized and conveys information in an easily understandable manner with examples that are related to experiences that students can identify with.”

Tammy Shutt, Ed.D.,
Lipscomb University

“…thorough and easy to understand, I think students will respond well to this text.”

Dr. Lisa L. M. Welling
Oakland University

“[This] book is excellent for educational research. The simplicity with which the book is written is phenomenal and it makes the book easy to read and understand. It will appeal to instructors, students and individuals interested in educational research. The features and activities in the book will definitely improve student learning engagement.”

Mabel CPO Okojie, PhD
Mississippi State University

Research Methods for Education is an excellent textbook that covers information on educational research design including qualitative, quantitative, and action research in education. It provides great information which is easy to understand for students to learn and instructors to teach. The text is writing in a non-technical way for better comprehension and understanding by students. The authors present great Learning Checks for students to complete self-checks of the understanding of materials as well as good review questions and learning activities.”   

Alex D. Colvin, PhD; LMSW
Prairie View A&M University

“[This text is] the most detailed and the well-organized textbook for the research study especially for the beginners.”

Jiyoon Yoon
University of Texas Arlington

“[Privitera and Ahlgrim-Delzell’s] text is highly useful, accessible, and thorough in its descriptions of research procedures. The project-based approach makes it practical for classroom use while retaining its scholastic legitimacy.”

Eric Shyman, Ed.D.
St. Joseph’s College
Key features


  • An expanded section on the different types of single-case experimental designs includes analysis using the What Works Clearinghouse guidelines provided by the US Department of Education.
  • Inclusion of program evaluation and how it can be applied to educational issues introduces these ideas to a broader group of students instead of just to those who take that specific course.
  • Connecting to the Classroom boxes helps readers to apply ideas from the chapter to issues of their own practice.
  • Ethics in Focus features connect research ethics to a specific educational research issue.
  • Learning checks provide opportunities for students to check their understanding of the material.
  • Making Sense boxes show how the more difficult ideas covered can be applied in the classroom.
  • Educational research examples from published articles illustrate how the research methods can be used to answer questions about educational practice.

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