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Understanding and Evaluating Research: A Critical Guide shows students how to be critical consumers of research and to appreciate the power of methodology as it shapes the research question, the use of theory in the study, the methods used, and how the outcomes are reported. The book starts with what it means to be a critical and uncritical reader of research, followed by a detailed chapter on methodology, and then proceeds to a discussion of each component of a research article as it is informed by the methodology. The book encourages readers to select an article from their discipline, learning along the way how to assess each component of the article and come to a judgment of its rigor or quality as a scholarly report.


View the brief Table of Contents for this book.

Preface

 
Acknowledgements

 
About the Author

 
 
PART I • INTRODUCTION
 
Chapter 1 • Critical Research Literacy
Introduction to the Book

 
Research Literacy Defined

 
Benefits of Research Literacy

 
Critical Research Literacy

 
Uncritical Readings of Research

 
Critically and Uncritically Reading Research

 
Chapter Summary

 
Review and Discussion Questions

 
 
PART II • PHILOSOPHICAL AND THEORETICAL ASPECTS OF RESEARCH
 
Chapter 2 • Research Methodologies
Introduction

 
Conceptual Confusion, Slippage, and Clarity

 
Methodological Approach Used in this Book

 
Philosophical Axioms

 
Positivism and Postpositivism

 
Empirical, Interpretive, and Critical Methodologies

 
Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Methods Methodologies

 
Research Methodology and Research Question Alignment

 
Writing the Research Methodology Section of a Paper

 
Chapter Summary

 
Review and Discussion Questions

 
 
Chapter 3 • Conceptual Frameworks, Theories, and Models
Introduction

 
Role of Theory in Research Inquiries

 
Concepts and Constructs

 
Conceptual Frameworks

 
Theories

 
Writing the Theoretical or Conceptual Framework Section of a Paper

 
Models

 
Chapter Summary

 
Review and Discussion Questions

 
 
PART III • ORIENTING AND SUPPORTIVE ELEMENTS OF RESEARCH
 
Chapter 4 • Orienting and Supportive Elements of a Journal Article
Introduction

 
Authors' Names, Credentials, and Affiliations

 
Article Title

 
Abstracts

 
Keywords

 
References

 
Footnotes and Endnotes

 
Appendices

 
Acknowledgements

 
Biographies

 
Chapter Summary

 
Review and Discussion Questions

 
 
Chapter 5 • Peer-Reviewed Journals
Introduction

 
Journal Editor, Editorial Boards, and Facilitating Editors

 
Peer Review Process

 
Acceptance Rates

 
Journal Impact Factors

 
Journal Title

 
Journal Volume, Issue, and Pagination

 
Year of Publication and Article Placement in Issue

 
Special Topic and Themed Issues

 
Electronic Journals

 
Open Access Journals

 
Chapter Summary

 
Review and Discussion Questions

 
 
PART IV • RESEARCH JUSTIFICATIONS, AUGMENTATION, AND RATIONALES
 
Chapter 6 • Introduction and Research Questions
Introduction

 
Etymological Roots

 
Opening Sentences and Opening Points in an Introduction

 
Six Approaches to Writing Introductions

 
Delimitations

 
Chapter Summary

 
Review and Discussion Questions

 
 
Chapter 7 • Literature Review
Introduction

 
Etymology and Definition of a Literature Review

 
Purposes of a Literature Review

 
When to Conduct a Literature Review

 
Conducting a Literature Search

 
Critically Reviewing the Collection of Literature

 
Writing the Literature Review Section

 
Characteristics of a Good Literature Review

 
Technical Elements of Writing Effective Literature Review Sections

 
Chapter Summary

 
Review and Discussion Questions

 
 
PART V • RESEARCH DESIGN AND RESEARCH METHODS
 
Chapter 8 • Overview of Research Design and Methods
Introduction

 
Etymology and Definition of Methods and Research Design

 
Research Design

 
Methods

 
Integrity of Research Designs

 
Technical Aspects of Reporting Methods

 
Chapter Summary

 
Review and Discussion Questions

 
 
Chapter 9 • Reporting Qualitative Research Methods
Introduction

 
Qualitative Emergent Research Designs

 
Types of Qualitative Research Designs

 
Methods Appropriate for Qualitative Research

 
Qualitative Site Selection and Access

 
Qualitative Sampling

 
Researcher's Role

 
Qualitative Ethical Considerations

 
Qualitative Data Collection

 
Qualitative Data Management, Security, and Storage

 
Integrity of Qualitative Research Designs

 
Qualitative Data Analysis

 
Qualitative Study Limitations

 
Chapter Summary

 
Review and Discussion Questions

 
 
Chapter 10 • Reporting Quantitative Methods and Mixed Methods Research
Introduction

 
Quantitative Research Design

 
Mixed Methods Research Design

 
Chapter Summary

 
Review and Discussion Questions

 
 
PART VI • RESULTS AND FINDINGS
 
Chapter 11 • Statistical Literacy and Conventions
Introduction

 
History of Statistics

 
Laws of Probability and Chance

 
Statistical Literacy

 
Types of Statistical Data

 
Statistical Variables

 
Experimental and Nonexperimental Research

 
Chapter Summary

 
Review and Discussion Questions

 
 
Chapter 12 • Descriptive and Inferential Statistics
Introduction

 
Basic Differences Between Descriptive and Inferential Statistics

 
Descriptive Statistics

 
Association and Causation

 
Inferential Statistics

 
Conclusion

 
Chapter Summary

 
Review and Discussion Questions

 
 
Chapter 13 • Results and Findings
Introduction

 
Distinguishing Between Results and Findings

 
Purpose of Results or Findings Section

 
Reporting Qualitative Findings

 
Reporting Quantitative Results

 
Reporting Mixed Methods Results and Findings

 
Conclusions: Unique Challenges of these Approaches

 
Chapter Summary

 
Review and Discussion Questions

 
 
PART VII • DISCUSSION, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS
 
Chapter 14 • Discussion
Introduction

 
Discussion Defined

 
Discussion Relative to Results and Findings

 
Purpose of Discussion

 
Discussion and the Concept of Significance

 
Fundamental Questions to Address in the Discussion

 
Limitations

 
Organizing the Discussion Section

 
Staying Focused and On Topic

 
Ensuring Strong and Responsible Discussions

 
Technical Strategies for Discussion Sections

 
Chapter Summary

 
Review and Discussion Questions

 
 
Chapter 15 • Conclusions
Introduction

 
Conclusion Defined

 
Relating Conclusions to Discussion and Summaries

 
Purpose of Conclusions

 
Closing Strategies for Effective Conclusions

 
Things to Avoid in the Conclusions Section

 
Technical Strategies for Writing Effective Conclusions

 
Chapter Summary

 
Review and Discussion Questions

 
 
Chapter 16 • Recommendations
Introduction

 
Recommend Defined

 
Logical Connections Informing Recommendations

 
Research Versus Nonresearch Recommendations

 
Audiences for Recommendations

 
Characteristics of Effective Recommendations

 
Language for Communicating Recommendations

 
Crafting and Organizing Effective Recommendations

 
Technical Strategies for Presenting Recommendations

 
Chapter Summary

 
Review and Discussion Questions

 
 
PART VIII • ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAYS AND THEORETICAL PAPERS
 
Chapter 17 • Argumentative Essays: Position, Discussion, and Think-Piece Papers
Introduction

 
Argumentative Essays

 
Comparing Position, Discussion, and Think-Piece Papers

 
Format for Argumentative Papers

 
Persuasive Writing and Rhetorical Appeals

 
Deductive and Inductive Argumentation

 
Logical Fallacies

 
Chapter Summary

 
Review and Discussion Questions

 
 
Chapter 18 • Conceptual and Theoretical Papers
Introduction

 
Chapter Caveats

 
Purpose of Conceptual Versus Theoretical Papers

 
Structural Elements of Conceptual and Theoretical Papers

 
Elements of a Conceptual Paper

 
Elements of a Theoretical Paper

 
Stage of Theory Being Published in a Theoretical Paper

 
Rigor in Conceptual and Theoretical Papers

 
Chapter Summary

 
Review and Discussion Questions

 
 
Appendix
 
References
 
Index

Supplements

Instructor Teaching Site

The password-protected Instructor Resources include the following: 

Editable, chapter-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides created by the author offer you flexibility in creating a multimedia presentation for your course.

Guidelines for facilitating a roundtable on research methodologies include discussion questions and exercise ideas that can be used in-class or as assignments.

 

Student Study Site
The open-access Student Study Site includes a downloadable, editable version of the Appendix, "Worksheet for Critiquing a Journal Article or Research Report".

Understanding and Evaluating Research is a great resource with many examples to beginners and seasoned qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods researchers.”

Kadir Demir
Georgia State University

“Sue L. T. McGregor provides what is missing in most textbooks on research methods—deeper explanations. New researchers will find detailed explanations of difficult-to-understand research concepts, and professors will find a wealth of teaching tools that can be tailored for each lesson. Few textbooks on research methods are so comprehensive and practical.”

Scott Greenberger
Grand Canyon University

“This is an exceptional instructional book written for students and experienced researchers. It’s a thorough guide that explains the entire process and provides a complete understanding of research. I highly recommend Understanding and Evaluating Research: A Critical Guide for both inexperienced and experienced researchers!”

Anita Rose
New York University

“This powerful, well-crafted book provides novice and advanced researchers the tools to fully understand and execute research.”

Carole S Rhodes
Queens College

“This ambitious volume provides depth and explanation to the basics of research methods and goes beyond to demystify many elements of academic writing. The book is accessible to novice researchers across disciplines. It is evident how much care and thought went into developing each chapter of this text to illuminate for novice researchers the guidelines and the quirkiness of academic writing.”

Xyanthe Neider
Washington State University

This is a book about evaluating and reporting research in any discipline. There are useful and elaborate details about peer reviewed journals, literature reviews, writing the introduction, discussion and other parts of a research paper. However, the book cannot be used as a textbook for undergraduate or even graduate students. It is useful more as a reference book for researchers writing a paper or critically reviewing a paper. As this book is not targeted specifically at students of Psychology, it cannot be used as a useful textbook.

Professor Usha Barahmand
Psychology Dept, Cuny Queens College
October 13, 2017
Key features

KEY FEATURES:

  • A chapter on how the role of methodologies plays into becoming a critical reader of research shows readers the difference between methodology and methods, and how the former influences scholarship.
  • Review and Engagement checklists, which are strategically positioned throughout the chapters close to the respective content, help readers to assess the topics they are critically reading.
  • Special chapters on Argumentative Essays and Theory Papers show how different types of scholarship cannot be judged using the criteria for a conventional research report.
  • Primer chapters on statistics gives critical readers a basic understanding of statistical literacy.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1 Critical Research Literacy

Chapter 2 Research Methodologies


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