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Research Design

Research Design
Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches

Fourth Edition
Additional resources:

March 2013 | 304 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

The eagerly anticipated Fourth Edition of the title that pioneered the comparison of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research design is here! For all three approaches, Creswell includes a preliminary consideration of philosophical assumptions, a review of the literature, an assessment of the use of theory in research approaches, and reflections about the importance of writing and ethics in scholarly inquiry. He also presents the key elements of the research process, giving specific attention to each approach. The Fourth Edition includes extensively revised mixed methods coverage, increased coverage of ethical issues in research, and an expanded emphasis on worldview perspectives.


“It provides all of the necessary information and tools to guide my doctoral students through writing their dissertation (research) proposals. Each chapter provides content information, examples that demonstrate the application of the content, suggestions for writing activities, and additional resources. All of this together in one textbook is phenomenal.”
— R.M. Cooper, Drake University

“Creswell’s is a more comprehensive discussion of design. Most texts approach this issue as either a book on qualitative methods, or one on quantitative methods. Additionally, my students appreciate the language. While not simple, the language and tone in this book are both accessible and inviting.” 
— Gilberto Arriaza, California State University-East Bay

“The accessibility of the content is a key strength. The students indicated that they will continue to use as a resource after the class is over.” 
— Heather J. Brace, Whittier College

Learn more about John W. Creswell's qualitative research and mixed methods research titles as well as his 2017 spring/summer mixed methods workshops!  

Available with Perusall—an eBook that makes it easier to prepare for class
Perusall is an award-winning eBook platform featuring social annotation tools that allow students and instructors to collaboratively mark up and discuss their SAGE textbook. Backed by research and supported by technological innovations developed at Harvard University, this process of learning through collaborative annotation keeps your students engaged and makes teaching easier and more effective. Learn more

Part I. Preliminary Considerations
Chapter 1. The Selection of a Research Approach
Chapter 2. Review of the Literature
Chapter 3. The Use of Theory
Chapter 4. Writing Strategies and Ethical Considerations
Part II. Designing Research
Chapter 5. The Introduction
Chapter 6. The Purpose Statement
Chapter 7. Research Questions and Hypotheses
Chapter 8. Quantitative Methods
Chapter 9. Qualitative Methods
Chapter 10. Mixed Methods Procedures


Student Study Site
The student study site features:

- Sample Student Proposals
- eFlashcards
- Suggested Studies
- Group Activities
- Class Activities
- Study Questions
- Journal Articles with Activities
Instructor Teaching Site
The instructor teaching site features:

- PowerPoint Slides
- Lecture Notes
- Discussion Questions
- Course Syllabi

* Please note, the full site will be available in mid-April at

This is a great foundational resource for writers thinking about research and completing research projects. It provides a good overall grounding in types of methodologies and approaches to research.

Linda Rappel
Education, University Of Calgary
November 29, 2016

Outstanding information given and resources available. Instructor and student companion websites are extremely helpful for the course developer, faculty instructor and students.

Dr Linda J. Roseburr
Management , Capella University
November 16, 2016

Creswell's research design text is a seminal textbook that I even used as a graduate student. My students found it to be very straightforward. It helped a number of my students design sound research projects. I also liked the website content with free powerpoints and notes.

Dr Tonisha B Lane
Adult Career Higher Ed Dept, University Of South Florida
October 17, 2016

Excellent text for graduate research courses.
In plain and easy to understand language - perfect for grad students.

Dr Donald Scott
Werklund School of Education, University Of Calgary
July 30, 2016

Detailed, yet easily read content that outlines research design. It builds upon the basic research information known and expands in a manner that allows students to glean the necessary information for the chosen research design method, while being able to equally understand others. The layout of the text highlights the necessary information and provides working examples without inundating the reader.

Professor Andrekka J Lanier
Ed Administration Policy Dept, Univ Of Southern California
May 16, 2016

Excellent textbook that gives a thorough overview of the topic, which is accessible for multiple levels of experience.

Ms Maria Frisch
College of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine, Northwestern Health Sci Univ
August 31, 2015

Clear concise step by step introduction to the reseach process. Very helpful for novice researchers

Dr Dale Sheptak
School of Education and Professional Studies, Lake Erie College
June 8, 2015

This is a well structured and informative research text which provides the majority of the key material required by masters students. I use the text with both home and international students .I also recommend it to doctoral students . I would really like you to consider providing an on line version as some of the modules are blended and accessing the main text can be problematic for some students.

Dr Gerardine Matthews-Smith
Schl of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Sc, Edinburgh Napier University
May 15, 2015

Excellent textbook; relates well to occupational therapy aims of research. Will be using with post-professional clinical doctoral students.

Diane Brown
School Of Occupational Therapy, Texas Woman'S University
May 14, 2015

Excellent resource for various phases of the doctoral research process. I really appreciate the directions and examples provided throughout the text.

Saran Donahoo
Educational Admin Dept, Southern Illinois University
May 12, 2015
Key features
  • Key Features

    • Compares Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods side-by-side in one book
    • Highly interdisciplinary examples that 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

    New to this Edition

    • Chapter 10 on Mixed Methods has been completely rewritten to reflect more recent thinking in the field; includes examples of both basic and advanced mixed methods models
    • Updated citations throughout provide the most current thinking on research design
    • Broader worldview perspective includes more emphasis on a transformative worldview, offering a worldview that is more inclusive of politics and political change agendas
    • 2010 APA update ensures students are current with citation standards when writing
    • Expanded coverage of ethical issues including a new table (4.1) addressing ethical issues throughout the entire research design process, from prior to the study to reporting and sharing findings
    • Chapter 8: Quantitative Methods has been expanded with additional coverage of:
      • Statistical significance of results
      • Effects Sizes
      • Confidence Intervals
    • Chapter 9: Qualitative Methods has been expanded with additional coverage of:
      • Type of designs
      • Reflexivity
      • Steps in qualitative analysis/interpretation

Preview this book

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

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