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How To Do Research

How To Do Research
15 Labs for the Social & Behavioral Sciences

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January 2016 | 304 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Designed to help students make the leap from learning about research to doing research, this manual provides an easy-to-understand walkthrough of the entire research process, from selecting a topic and conducting a literature review through presenting an APA-style paper or presentation. All of the 15 cross-disciplinary labs included are appropriate for use in the social, behavioral, and health sciences, and follow a consistent format: objective, description of a journal article, canned data, examples of what output should look like, pointers on interpreting the output, and a suggested activity for those who wish to collect their own data.

PART I: Before You Collect Data
LAB 1. Finding a Topic, Finding Sources, and Critically Reading Appropriate Articles
Finding a Topic  
What Are the Steps of a Research Project?  
Tips for Finding Sources  
How to Read an Article  
If You Want to Go Further . . . Secondary Analyses of Large Data Sets Available Online  
LAB 2: How to Write a Literature Review
The Literature Review  
APA Style  
If You Want to Go Further . . . Writing “Good”  
LAB 3: After the Literature Review: Theory > Hypothesis > Design > Analysis > Results > Interpretation
The Logic Behind the Research  
Theory > Hypothesis > Design > Analysis: Method Section  
Theory > Hypothesis > Design > Analysis > Results  
Theory > Hypothesis > Design > Analysis > Results > Interpretation  
If You Want to Go Further . . . Cultural Considerations  
Pick a Card, Any Card . . .  
LAB 4: Ethics of Research
How to Treat Participants (Human or Otherwise)  
The Ethics of Reporting Research  
If You Want to Go Further . . . The Role of the IRB  
Preparing a Proposal for the IRB  
What to Expect Once Your Project Has Been Approved  
PART II: Collecting Data - Research Designs and Tools
LAB 5: Qualitative Research
Qualitative Research: What Is It, and What Do You Do With It?  
If You Want to Go Further . . . Content Analysis  
What’s the Point of All This Qualitative Information? Development of a Grounded Theory  
Communicating the Results  
LAB 6: Case Studies and Single-Subject Designs
Case Study Versus Single-Subject Design  
Who Uses Behavior Modification?  
If You Want to Collect Your Own Data . . . It's All About You  
If You Want To Go Further . . . Large-Scale Epidemiology: The Opposite Approach  
LAB 7: Surveys
Types of Survey Questions  
Writing the Method  
If You Want To Collect Your Own Data . . .  
Distributing the Survey  
Informed Consent—Really, Really Important!  
Producing the Abbreviated Lab Report  
If You Want to Go Further . . . Developing the Survey  
LAB 8: Descriptive and Inferential Statistics
Descriptive Versus Inferential Statistics  
Scales of Measurement  
If You Want to Go Further . . . More About Effect Size  
Types of Effect Size Statistics  
How Big Is Big Enough?  
To Summarize  
Reviewing What You've Learned: Answer Key  
LAB 9: Correlational Design
Experimental Versus Non-Experimental  
If You Want to Collect Your Own Data . . . Closure  
If You Want to Go Further . . . Partial Correlations  
LAB 10: Regression Analysis
A Step Up  
Practice and Review  
Summing Up  
If You Want to Go Further . . . Hierarchical Regression  
LAB 11: Two-Group Designs
The Two-Group Design  
If You Want to Collect Your Own Data . . . Be the Participant  
Levels of Processing Data  
If You Want to Go Further . . . Chi-Squared Analysis  
LAB 12: Multiple-Groups Designs
Going Beyond the Two-Group Design  
If You Want to Collect Your Own Data . . . Cautions!  
Putting It All Together  
If You Want to Go Further . . . Categorical IVs and DVs in Regression  
Coding Categorical Predictor Variables for Regression  
Logistic Regression  
LAB 13: Factorial Designs
Are We There Yet?  
More Practice With Interactions  
If You Want to Go Further . . . More About Testing Interactions  
What Happens With Categorical Predictors?  
What Happens With Repeated-Measures Data?  
Answers for More Practice With Interactions  
PART III: After Collecting Data
LAB 14: Writing the Discussion Section, Sharing Your Findings Using a Poster or Oral Presentation
Discussion Section Checklist  
Creating and Presenting a Poster  
Preparing an Oral Presentation of Your Findings  
If You Want to Go Further . . . The Publication Process: What to Expect When You’re Submitting  
LAB 15: Tables and Figures
How Do I Create a Figure?  
Using SPSS  
If You Want to Collect Your Own Data . . .  
If You Want to Go Further . . .  
A Few More (Optional) Things  
In Conclusion


Student Study Site
The open-access Student Study Site includes supplementary data files and EXCLUSIVE access to certain full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected for different lab exercises. Each article supports and expands on the concepts presented in the labs.  

It was more advanced than my class required. Too much statistics, not enough of the earlier steps of research design.

Dr Whitney Ross Manzo
History Politics Dept, Meredith College
April 12, 2016
Key features


  • Step-by-step instructions on how to how to carry out the appropriate analyses in SPSS using “canned” data and “do it yourself” sections in each lab enable readers to generate their own data and provides maximum teaching flexibility.
  • An emphasis on meaningful analysis encourages students to use good judgment in inspecting data to catch errors rather than simply following directions without understanding.
  • Inclusion of SPSS output and answers to questions raised in the labs allow students to check their work as they go and revisit areas of improvement before moving on.
  • An emphasis on the usefulness of content helps students see the relevance of what they are learning regardless of whether they choose a career in research or not.
  • If You Want To Go Further sections in every lab provide more advanced material suitable for early graduate and advanced undergraduate students who want to learn more.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Lab 5

Lab 9

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