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Practicing Research

Practicing Research
Discovering Evidence That Matters

December 2007 | 400 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Practicing Research: Discovering Evidence That Matters provides students, practitioners, and researchers with guidance on best practices. The book's eight chapters correspond to the skills that research consumers need to discover evidence that matters. Author Arlene Fink pays special attention to facilitating student learning by offeringing over a hundred examples, exercises, tables, figures, and checklists, as well as an extensive glossary. All the examples are taken from existing research and programs and grounded in the practitioner's reality.

Key Features

  • Provides methods for determining the validity of evidence and how to justify an acceptable level of "proof" based on science, experience, and values
  • Offers practical frameworks to guide the research process and take the student from needs assessment to program implementation and evaluation through to implementation of results
  • Shows how to engage diverse stakeholders (communities, teachers) in the research process
  • Accompanied by a companion Web site at that consists of Web exercises for students for each chapter

Intended Audience

This text is intended to be the core text or one of the primary texts for applied research courses at the graduate level in Education, Social Work, Public Administration and Policy, Evaluation, Health, Nursing, and Criminal Justice. Readers should have a passing familiarity with the idea of research, but no special research expertise is necessary.



Chapter 1. The Evaluation Research and Evidence-Based Practice Partnership
Chapter 2. The Research Consumer as Detective: Investigating Program and Bibliographic Data Bases
Chapter 3: The Practical Research Consumer
Chapter 4. The Designing Research Consumer
Chapter 5. The Research Consumer Reviews the Measures
Chapter 6. The Research Consumer Evaluates Measurement Reliability and Validity
Chapter 7. Getting Closer: Grading the Literature and Evaluating the Strength of the Evidence
Chapter 8. The Ethical Research Consumer Assesses Needs and Evaluates Improvement Identifying Needs, Preferences and Values

"Fink excels in [her] introduction to research design and includes a useful discussion on threats to internal and external validity, [...] a particular strength of the work."

Jason P. Browning
University of Louisville
NACADA Journal

The course content has changed. However, sections of this book are useful to our students doing capstone projects

Professor Deirdra Wilson
Public Health Program, Touro University
October 31, 2013

An excellent text providing the researcher with vital information to establish how to undertake good research with meaning.

Mrs Sharon Fairhurst
Chinese and Complementary Medicine, Glyndwr University
November 1, 2012

Excellent book for evidence based research needed by DNP students, who are expected to conduct evidenced based projects.

Dr Gale Spencer
Nursing Dept, Suny at Binghamton
September 26, 2012

Fink's excellent clarity of writing and well-structured text makes her book a superb supplement to a text that is more directly about programme evaluation.

Dr Catherine Ward
Psychology , University of Cape Town
February 1, 2011

Adequatley shows students how to explicate evidence to incorporate into research.

Stephanie Johnson
English Modern Language Dept, Bowie State University
April 9, 2010

It was clearly written for students in a beginning research course, was skill based in terms of searching and evaluating the literature, and was offered at a reasonable cost.

Ms Nancy Hollins
Health Human Studies Division, Utica College
February 9, 2010

While this text probably could work for my research methods in health course, it focuses primarily on
"evidence based medicine." The cost is reasonable.

Professor Andrea Kalfoglou
Health , University of Maryland, Baltimore County
January 19, 2010
Key features
  •  Applies research methods that are derived from medicine and public health that are known to be valid and usable in real-world settings but haven't yet been effectively translated into social science and education practice as much as they could be
  • Provides methods for determining the validity of  evidence and how to justify an acceptable level of "proof" based on science, experience, and values 
  • Provides practical frameworks to guide the research process and which take the student from needs assessment to program implementation and evaluation through to implementation of results.  
  • Deals with human resources and expenses to be expected in doing evidence-based research 
  • Provides examples of evidence-based principles in the text and links each to examples of whole or parts of studies available on the internet
  • Gives details on how to identify and evaluate existing programs through reports and the published literature
  • Provides methods for monitoring the quality of implementation
  • Discusses ethical issues and IRB procedures
  • Shows how to engage diverse stakeholders (communities, teachers) in the research process
  • Provides guidance in selecting and implementing randomized controlled trials and other research designs including observational designs and quality improvement evaluations
  • Differentiates between the needs of users of evidence-based practice and those of doers
  • Describes how to do systematic literature reviews including the selection of databases and use of search terms 
  • Provides an Instructor's Resources CD with supplemental studies and exercises for students; some of the studies and exercises  are linked to studies on the internet so that students are required to practice the tools and concepts presented in the book.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 8

Sage College Publishing

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