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This best-selling text pioneered the comparison of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research design. For all three approaches, John W. Creswell and new co-author J. David Creswell include a preliminary consideration of philosophical assumptions, key elements of the research process, a review of the literature, an assessment of the use of theory in research applications, and reflections about the importance of writing and ethics in scholarly inquiry. 

The Fifth Edition includes more coverage of: epistemological and ontological positioning in relation to the research question and chosen methodology; case study, PAR, visual and online methods in qualitative research; qualitative and quantitative data analysis software; and in quantitative methods more on power analysis to determine sample size, and more coverage of experimental and survey designs; and updated with the latest thinking and research in mixed methods.

SHARE this Comparison of Research Approaches poster with your students to help them navigate the distinction between the three approaches to research.

Analytic Contents of Research Techniques



Outline of Chapters

Companion Website
About the Authors
Chapter 1 The Selection of a Research Approach
The Three Approaches to Research

Three Components Involved in an Approach

Research Approaches as Worldviews, Designs, and Methods

Criteria for Selecting a Research Approach


Additional Readings

Chapter 2 Review of the Literature
The Research Topic

The Literature Review


Additional Readings

Chapter 3 The Use of Theory
Quantitative Theory Use

Qualitative Theory Use

Mixed Methods Theory Use


Additional Readings

Chapter 4 Writing Strategies and Ethical Consideration
Writing the Proposal

Writing Ideas

Ethical Issues to Anticipate


Additional Readings

Chapter 5 The Introduction
The Importance of Introductions

An Abstract for a Study

Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Introductions

A Model for an Introduction


Additional Readings

Chapter 6 The Purpose Statement
Significance and Meaning of a Purpose Statement


Additional Readings

Chapter 7 Research Questions and Hypotheses
Qualitative Research Question

Quantitative Research Questions and Hypotheses

Mixed Methods Research Questions and Hypotheses


Additional Readings

Chapter 8 Quantitative Methods
Defining Surveys and Experiments

Components of a Survey Study Method Plan

Components of an Experimental Study Method Plan


Additional Readings

Chapter 9 Qualitative Methods
The Characteristics of Qualitative Research

Qualitative Designs

The Researcher’s Role and Ref

Data Collection Procedures

Data Recording Procedures

Data Analysis Procedures


Validity and Reliability

Writing the Qualitative Report


Additional Readings

Chapter 10 Mixed Methods Procedures
Components of Mixed Methods Procedures

Types of Mixed Methods Designs

A Procedure for Embedding Core Designs Into Complex Designs

Factors Important in Choosing a Mixed Methods Design

Examples of Mixed Methods Procedures


Additional Readings

Author Index
Subject Index


Student Study Site

SAGE edge for Students provides a personalized approach to help students accomplish their coursework goals in an easy-to-use learning environment.

  • Mobile-friendly practice quizzes allow for independent assessment by students of their mastery of course material.
  • Premium video content curated from the SAGE Research Methods platform, including videos by John W. Creswell.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter, plus accompanying exercises and application questions.
  • Sample research proposals and templates offer further guidance on research design.
Instructor Teaching Site

SAGE edge for Instructors supports your teaching by making it easy to integrate quality content and create a rich learning environment for students.

  • Premium video content curated from the SAGE Research Methods platform, including videos by John W. Creswell, accompanied by assessment questions.
  • A diverse range of pre-written, editable test questions to help 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, plus accompanying exercises and application questions.
  • Lecture notes highlight key concepts by chapter to help you prepare for lectures and class discussions.
  • Chapter-specific writing exercises emphasize critical thinking and application of key concepts.
  • Discussion questions launch classroom interaction and encourage students to engage further with the material.
  • All figures and tables from the book available for download and use in your course.

“This text is incredibly helpful and among the books I use most frequently in my teaching and my own writing.”

Andrew Ryder
University of North Carolina, Wilmington

I adopted and used last year. Considering adding or changing to another textbook.

Professor D'Jaris Renee Coles-White
Speech Patho Audiology Dept, Western Michigan University
October 23, 2022

Excellent resource for foundations course.

Dr Kathy Nobles
Curriculum, Leadership, & Technology, Valdosta State University
March 12, 2022

I feel the book does justice to reserach design and methods. Very informative and thoroughly written

Dr Saira Anwar
Accounting, Texas A&M University
September 30, 2021

Availability of the Instructor's Resources.

Dr Patience Akpan-Obong
School of Letters & Sciences, Arizona State Univ Polytechnic
December 3, 2021

Great resource and handbook for introduction to research design.

Dr Marti Canipe
Teaching & Learning, Northern Arizona University
January 17, 2020

An invaluable reference for Master's and Doctoral students at the beginning of their educational research journey

Dr Victoria Sherif
Counseling, Educational Leadership, Educational and School Psychology, Wichita State University
October 2, 2020

Content, excellent instructor resources

Dr Julie Pynn
Psychology Dept, Southern Utah University
August 28, 2019

It covers everything our Sport Mgmt masters students need to know regarding research.

Dr Chase M. L. Smith
Management, University Of Southern Indiana
October 6, 2020

Recent version available with both qualitative and quantitative options in the same text. Great examples available in text with online options for students.

Victoria Walsey
Social Sci Native Studies Dept, Northwest Indian College
December 29, 2019
Key features


  • Updated discussion on designing a proposal for a research project and on the steps in designing a research study.  
  • Additional content on epistemological and ontological positioning in relation to the research question and chosen methodology and method. 
  • Additional updates on the transformative worldview. 
  • Expanded coverage on specific approaches such as case studies, participatory action research, and visual methods. 
  • Additional information about social media, online qualitative methods, and mentoring and reflexivity in qualitative methods. 
  • Incorporation of action research and program evaluation in mixed methods and coverage of the latest advances in the mixed methods field
  • Additional coverage on qualitative and quantitative data analysis software in the respective methods chapters. 
  • Additional information about causality and its relationship to statistics in quantitative methods. 
  • Incorporation of writing discussion sections into each of the three methodologies. 
  • Current references and additional readings are included in this new edition.



  • Compares qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research in one book for full, unparalleled coverage.
  • Highly interdisciplinary examples make this book widely appealing to a broad range of courses and disciplines.
  • Ethical coverage throughout consistently reminds students to use good judgment and to be fair and unbiased in their research.
  • Writing exercises conclude each chapter so that readers can practice the principles learned in the chapter; if the reader completes all of the exercises, they will have a written plan for their scholarly study.
  • Numbered points provide checklists of each step in a process.
  • Annotated passages help reinforce the reader's comprehension of key research ideas.

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781506386690

ISBN: 9781506386706