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When to Use What Research Design

When to Use What Research Design - Free Ebook Download

Book Detail

Author/Editor(s): W. Paul Vogt, Dianne C. Gardner, Lynne M. Haeffele
Publication Date: February 21, 2012
ISBN-10: 1462503535
ISBN-13: 978-1462503537
Language: English
Edition: 1
Publisher: The Guilford Press
Size: 2.40 MB
Format: pdf

Book Description

Systematic, practical, and accessible, this is the first book to focus on finding the most defensible design for a particular research question. Thoughtful guidelines are provided for weighing the advantages and disadvantages of various methods, including qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods designs. The book can be read sequentially or readers can dip into chapters on specific stages of research (basic design choices, selecting and sampling participants, addressing ethical issues) or data collection methods (surveys, interviews, experiments, observations, archival studies, and combined methods). Many chapter headings and subheadings are written as questions, helping readers quickly find the answers they need to make informed choices that will affect the later analysis and interpretation of their data.

Useful features include:
  • Easy-to-navigate part and chapter structure.
  • Engaging research examples from a variety of fields.
  • End-of-chapter tables that summarize the main points covered.
  • Detailed suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter.
  • Integration of data collection, sampling, and research ethics in one volume.
  • Comprehensive glossary.

About the Author

W. Paul Vogt, PhD, is Emeritus Professor of Research Methods and Evaluation at Illinois State University, where he has won both teaching and research awards. Dr. Vogt’s areas of specialization include research design and data analysis, with particular emphasis on combining qualitative, quantitative, and graphic approaches.

Dianne C. Gardner, PhD, is Associate Professor of Educational Administration at Illinois State University. Dr. Gardner’s research interests include assessment, organizational development, program evaluation, P20 systems, and qualitative research methodology.

Lynne M. Haeffele, PhD, is Senior Research Associate in the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University. Dr. Haeffele’s research interests include combining research designs, applying research findings to policy and practice, program evaluation, and the topical areas of college readiness, organizational performance, and school–university partnerships.


A masterful and thorough presentation of 'when to use what.' From beginning to end, it is clear that you are reading the work of very accomplished researchers and educators. The authors use a particularly rich, colorful, and practical set of examples, including classic and contemporary research studies as well as wonderful day-to-day illustrations such as TV channel surfing to introduce the notion of sampling. Readers can pick and choose individual chapters or read straight through the entire book, depending on their needs. The summary tables are extraordinarily useful and can serve as a quick reference to chapter structure and content.

--Karen M. Staller, PhD, School of Social Work, University of Michigan

I am recommending this book as the core text for our required methods course at the graduate level. The reader is taken on a tour of the main research designs employed by social scientists, including various quantitative and qualitative, experimental and observational, and primary and secondary data designs. Highlighting how decisions about research design should be influenced by the nature of the research question, the authors also acknowledge when other factors come into play, including financial and ethical considerations. The text helps researchers decide when to use a particular research design; teaches how to choose appropriate methods for sampling, recruiting, and assigning treatments (for experiments); and explores the implications of these decisions. I like how the authors talk about debates in the literature and how they point out typical/common shortcomings of different approaches. Their frank language gives the book the feel of a trusted advisor providing honest advice.

--Tracey LaPierre, PhD, Department of Sociology, University of Kansas

This book is on an essential topic--the questions it tackles are incredibly important in the social sciences. It reads like a field guide to conducting good research. I would recommend it to advanced undergraduates who need a handy reference or to graduate students who want one resource for their basic design, sampling, and ethics questions. It is accessible and easy to read. The authors present the process of research as full of choices that are best tackled by an informed researcher--no choice is universally the best one. The book emphasizes the importance of careful thought and weighing of pros and cons prior to conducting research.

--Theresa DiDonato, PhD, Department of Psychology, Loyola University Maryland

The book is very well written and readable, a real plus! I really like the authors’ premise that the research question determines the choice of method, rather than vice versa.

--Rosemary L. Hopcroft, PhD, Department of Sociology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

The use of questions as subheads is an effective pedagogical technique. Teaching students to turn a heading into a question and then reading the textbook section to find the answer to the question has a rich history as an instructional strategy.

--Susan Kushner Benson, PhD, College of Education, University of Akron

This has been an excellent text for my Advanced Research Methods course. Vogt et al. offer a well-rounded approach that addresses methods, sampling, and ethical issues for each research design. The book provides nice coverage that is relatively discipline neutral--appealing to the social sciences as well as business. Abundant references to key studies can be used as article reviews to further enhance each topic. The authors also incorporate statistical analysis tools that are appropriate for the designs, going beyond basic statistical procedures to explain a number of advanced procedures, as well.

--Debbie L. Hahs-Vaughn, PhD, College of Education and Human Performance, University of Central Florida

Provides a hugely useful resource to navigate through the initial stages of research design, applicable to students and seasoned researchers alike....The layout of the book allows the reader to easily select those chapters that are most relevant to their interests, and is facilitated by signposting of additional resources to support the reader. The book is well written and accessible, posing questions throughout to guide the reader through the research process. A useful resource for any researcher.

--The Psychologist

It is difficult to avoid a plethora of superlatives in reviewing this text. The writers….devote their space comprehensively and adequately to assisting any research reader at any level to decide what research method to use in dealing with a particular question, and to provide answers to many associated questions….Should be prescribed reading for everyone proposing to undertake educational research….Expect it to be a constant source of advice and inspiration.

--British Journal of Educational Technology

The book is organized in an easy access order of information from design to sampling to ethics. Having used the book while starting my own study, the book did help me to quickly locate the information I needed. I praise the book’s emphasis on the design development process from the research question to the research design….The authors included wonderful research question examples for reach research design. The attention to detail was refreshing. I particularly liked the authors’ lists of important works in each chapter for in-depth discussions on a research design, a sampling technique, etc.

--Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal

I praise the book's emphasis on the design development process from the research question to the research design, highlighting the fact that the research question always decides what steps will follow and what decisions will need to be made. The authors included wonderful research question examples for each research design. The attention to detail was refreshing. I particularly liked the authors' lists of important works in each chapter for in-depth discussions on a research design, a sampling technique, etc….[T]his book does what the authors have stated it should do, which is to describe various design packages and define the research designs involved in them….[T]he authors do a wonderful job at directing researchers towards appropriate literature for reading further details.

--International Journal of Social Research Methodology
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