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How To Do Research

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

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 1, 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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