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Research Methods for the Behavioral Sciences

Research Methods for the Behavioral Sciences

Third Edition

January 2019 | 608 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Research Methods for the Behavioral Sciences, Third Edition employs a problem-focused approach to present a clear and comprehensive introduction to research methods. Award-winning teacher, author, and advisor Gregory J. Privitera fully integrates the research methods decision tree to help students choose the most appropriate methodology for the research question they are seeking to answer. Speaking to readers directly using a conversational tone, Privitera empowers students to view research methods as something they are capable of understanding and applying.

Chapter 1: Introduction to Scientific Thinking
1.1 Science as a Method of Knowing  
1.2 The Scientific Method  
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 Behavioral Research  
3.2 The Need for Ethics Committees in Research: A Historical Synopsis  
3.3 Ethics in Focus: Examples from Psychology  
3.4 Human Participant Research: IRBs and the APA Code of Conduct  
3.5 Ethics in Focus: Anonymity and Confidentiality  
3.6 Animal Subject Research: IACUCs and the APA Code of Conduct  
3.7 Additional Ethical Considerations: Scientific Integrity  
Chapter 4: Identifying Scientific Variables
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 Selecting a Measurement Procedure  
4.8 Ethics in Focus: REplication as a Guage for Fraud?  
4.9 SPSS in Focus: Entering and Coding Data  
Chapter 5: Sampling From Populations
5.1 Why Do Researchers Select Samples?  
5.2 Subjects, Participants, and Sampling Methods  
5.3 Methods of Sampling: Nonprobability Sampling  
5.4 Methods of Sampling: Probability Sampling  
5.5 Sampling Error and Standard Error of the Mean  
5.6 SPSS In Focus: Estimating the Standard Error of the Mean  
5.7 Potential Biases in Sampling  
5.8 Ethics in Focus: Participant Pools  
5.9 SPSS in Focus: Identifying New Populations Using the One-Sample t-Test  
Chapter 6: Choosing a Research Design
6.1 Designing a Study to Answer a Question  
6.2 Categories of Research Design  
6.3 Internal and External Validity  
6.4 Demonstrating Cause in an Experiment  
6.5 Ethics in Focus: Beneficence and Random Assignment  
6.6 Threats to the Internal Validity of a Research Study  
6.7 Threats to the External Validity of a Research Study  
6.8 External Validity, Experimention, and Realism  
6.9 A Final Thought on Validity and Choosing a Research Design  
Chapter 7: Naturalistic, Qualitative, and Existing Data Research Designs
Naturalistic Observation  
7.1 An Overview of Naturalistic Observation  
7.2 The Research Setting: Natural and Contrived Settings  
7.3 Techniques for COnducting Naturalistic Observation  
7.4 Ethics in Focus: Influence Participant Behavior  
Qualitative Designs  
7.5 An Overview of Qualitative Designs  
7.6 Qualitative Research Designs  
7.7 Ethics in Focus: Anonymity in Qualitative Research  
Existing Data Designs  
7.8 An Overview of Existing Data Designs  
7.9 Existing Data Designs  
7.10 Ethics in Focus: Existing Data and Experimenter Bias  
Chapter 8: Survey and Correlational Research Designs
Survey Designs  
8.1 An Overview of Survey Designs  
8.2 Types of Survey Items  
8.3 Rules for Writing Survey Items  
8.4 Administering Surveys  
8.5 Surveys, Sampling, and Nonresponse Bias  
8.6 Ethics in Focus: Handling and Administering Surveys  
Correlational Designs
8.7 The Structure of Correlational Designs  
8.8 Describing the Relationship Between Variables  
8.9 Limitations in Interpretation  
8.10 Correlation, Regression, and Prediction  
8.11 SPSS in Focus: Correlation and Linear Regression  
Chapter 9: Quasi-Experimental and Single-Case Experimental Designs
Quasi-Experimental Designs  
9.1 An Overview of Quasi-Experimental Designs  
9.2 Quasi-Experimental Design: One-Group Designs  
9.3 Quasi-Experimental Design: Nonequivalent Control Group Designs  
9.4 Quasi-Experimental Design: Time Series Designs  
9.5 Quasi-Experimental Design: Developmental Designs  
9.6 Ethics in Focus: Development and Aging  
Single-Case Experimental Designs  
9.7 An Overview of Single-Case Designs  
9.8 Single-Case Baseline-Phase Designs  
9.9 Validity, Stability, Magnitude, and Generality  
9.10 Ethics in Focus: The Ethics of Innovation  
Chapter 10: Between-Subjects Experimental Designs
10.1 Conducting Experiments: Between-Subjects Designs  
10.2 Experimental Versus Control Group  
10.3 Manipulation and the Independent Variable  
10.4 Variability and the Independent Variable  
10.5 Ethics in Focus: The Accountability of Manipulation  
10.6 Comparing Two Independent Samples  
10.7 SPSS in Focus: Two-Independent-Sample t-Test  
10.8 Comparing Two or More Independent Samples  
10.9 SPSS In Focus: One-Way Between-Subjects ANOVA  
10.10 Measuring the Dependent Variable  
10.11 Advantages and Disadvantages of the Between-Subjects Design  
Chapter 11: Within-Subject Experimental Designs
11.1 Conducting Experiments: Within-Subjects Design  
11.2 Controlling Time-Related Factors  
11.3 Ethics in Focus: Minimizing Participant Fatigue  
11.4 Individual Differences and Variability  
11.5 Comparing Two Related Samples  
11.6 SPSS In Focus: Related-Samples t-Test  
11.7 Comparing Two or More Related Samples  
11.8 SPSS In Focus: One-Way Within-Subjects ANOVA  
11.9 An Alternative to Pre-Post Designs: Solomon Four-Group Designs  
11.10 Comparing Between-Subjects and Within-Subjects Designs  
Chapter 12: Factorial Experimental Designs
12.1 Testing Multiple Factors in the Same Experiment  
12.2 Selecting Samples for a Factorial Design in Experimentation  
12.3 Types of Factorial Designs  
12.4 Ethics in Focus: Participant Fatigue and Factorial Designs  
12.5 Main Effects and Interactions  
12.6 Identifying Main Effects and Interactions in a Graph  
12.7 Including Quasi-Independent Factors in an Experiment  
12.8 Reasons for Including Two or More Factors in an Experiment  
12.9 Higher-Order Factorial Designs  
12.10 SPSS in Focus: General Instructions for Conducting a Factorial ANOVA  
Chapter 13: Analysis and Interpretation: Exposition of Data
13.1 Descriptive Statistics: Why Summarize Data?  
13.2 Frequency Distributions: Tables and Graphs  
13.3 Measures of Central Tendency  
13.4 Measures of Variability  
13.5 SPSS In Focus: Central Tendency and Variability  
13.6 Graphing Means and Correlations  
13.7 Using Correlation to Describe Reliability  
13.8 SPSS In Focus: Cronbach's Alpha and Cohen's Kappa  
13.9 Ethics in Focus: Deception Due to the Distortion of Data  
Chapter 14: Analysis and Interpretation: Making Decisions About Data
14.1 Inferential Statistics: What Are We Making Inferences About?  
14.2 Types of Error and Power  
14.3 Parametric Tests: Applying the Decision Tree  
14.4 Nonparametric Tests: Applying the Decision Tree  
14.5 SPSS In Focus: The Chi-Square Tests  
14.6 Effect Size: How Big Is an Effect in the Population?  
14.7 Estimation: What Are the Possible Values of a Parameter?  
14.8 Confidence Intervals, Significance, and Effect Size  
14.9 Issues for Interpretation: Precision and Certainty  
14.10 Ethics in Focus: Full Disclosure of Data  
Chapter 15: Communicating Research: Preparing Manuscripts, Posters, and Talks
15.1 Elements of Communication  
15.2 Writing a Manuscript: Writing Style and Language  
15.3 Elements of an APA-Styles Manuscript  
15.4 Literature Reviews  
15.5 Reporting Observations in Qualitative Research  
15.6 Ethics in Focus: Credit and Authorship  
15.7 Presenting a Poster  
15.8 Giving a Professional Talk  
Key features


  • Testing the Assumptions of Parametric Testing features balance the coverage of this final analysis step in quantitative research by: making students aware of the assumptions; connecting readers to where in the book they can learn about nonparametric alternatives to this testing; and providing students with a more balanced perspective for choosing appropriate statistical analyses to analyze quantitative data.
  • Additional and updated examples clarify distinguishing between basic and applied research, types of validity and reliability, and more.
  • Hypothesis methodology linked to current examples help students realize the value and real-world application of research design in the behavioral sciences, and connects them to examples in research that they can relate to their own experiences and interests.
  • Content reflective of SPSS v.25 incorporates new selection options required to analyze data in chapters and in Appendix B.
  • An updated study guide helps students practice their skills with SPSS exercises.
  • Revised figures, tables, and writing improve readability of the material.
  • Over 130 new references reflect the latest scholarship and perspectives and replace relatively outdated references.


  • A problem-focused organization of five main sections that each build upon the last give students a full picture of the scientific process.
  • Ethics in Focus sections integrated throughout review important ethical issues related to the topics in each chapter.
  • Coverage of three broad categories of research design (nonexperimental, quasi-experimental, and experimental) focuses on understanding how, when, and why research designs are used, and the types of questions each design can and cannot answer.
  • A guide at the front of the book, How to Use SPSS With This Book, provides students with an easy-to-follow, classroom-tested overview of how SPSS is set up, how to read the Data View and Variable View screens, and how to use the SPSS in Focus sections in the book.
  • SPSS in Focus sections provide step-by-step instruction using practical research examples for how the data measured using various research designs taught in each chapter can be analyzed using SPSS.
  • Learning Objectives organize student learning outcomes at the beginning of each chapter and are answered in chapter-concluding summaries.
  • Learning Checks with answer keys allow students to review what they learn as they learn it and actually confirm their understanding.
  • Making Sense sections break down the most difficult concepts to ease student stress and make research methods more approachable.
  • APA appendices support learning of APA style with a guide to grammar, punctuation, and spelling; a full sample APA-style manuscript from a study published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal; instructions for creating posters using PowerPoint®, and more.

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ISBN: 9781544309811