Research Basics: Design to Data Analysis in Six Steps offers a fresh and creative approach to the research process based on author James V. Spickard’s decades of teaching experience. Using an intuitive six-step model, readers learn how to craft a research question and then identify a logical process for answering it. Conversational writing and multi-disciplinary examples illuminate the model’s simplicity and power, effectively connecting the “hows” and “whys” behind social science research. Students using this book will learn how to turn their research questions into results.
Table of Contents
For Instructors: Why This Book?
What Lies Ahead
About the Author
Why a Six-Step Formula?
PART ONE THE SIX STEPS
Chapter 1 Step 1: Develop a Good Research Question
Start With a Research Topic
From Topic to Question
An Example: Mass Transit
Search the Literature
Recraft Your Research Question
Questions Based on the Literature
Three More Possibilities
Start Your Research Proposal
The Parts of a Proposal
A Proposal in Brief: The Concept Paper
Chapter 2 Step 2: Choose a Logical Structure for Your Research
1. Comparing Outcomes
2. Systematic Description
3. Seeking Correlations
Ten Logical Structures for Research
1. True Experiments
3. Ex Post Facto Research
4. Correlational Research
5. Descriptive Research
6. Case Studies
7. Historical Research
8. Longitudinal Research
10. Action Research
Matching Logical Structure to the Research Question
Chapter 3 Step 3: Identify the Type of Data You Need
Fourteen Types of Data
1. Acts, Behavior, or Events
2. Reports of Acts, Behavior, or Events
3. Economic Data
4. Organizational Data
5. Demographic Data
7. Shallow Opinions and Attitudes
8. Deeply Held Opinions and Attitudes
9. Personal Feelings
10. Cultural Knowledge
11. Expert Knowledge
12. Personal and Psychological Traits
13. Experience as It Presents Itself to Consciousness
14. Hidden Social Patterns
Chapter 4 Step 4: Pick a Data Collection Method
Match Your Method to Your Data
Data Type 1: Acts, Behavior, or Events
Data Type 2: Reports of Acts, Behavior, or Events
Data Types 3, 4, and 5: Economic, Organizational, and Demographic Data
Data Type 6: Self-Identity
Data Types 7 and 8: Shallow and Deeply Held Opinions and Attitudes
Data Type 9: Personal Feelings
Three Examples (that include data types 10-12)
Example 1: Mass Transit and Property Values
Example 2: Mass Transit and Street Life
Example 3: Best Places to Work
Data Type 13: Experience as It Presents Itself to Consciousness
Hidden Social Patterns
Implementing Ethical Practices
Institutional Review Boards
Chapter 5 Step 5: Choose Your Data Collection Site
Demographic and Economic Data
Opinions, Identities, and Reports of Acts at a Shallow Level
Populations and Samples
Sample Size, Margin of Error, and Confidence Level
Deeply Held Opinions and Attitudes
Cultural and Expert Knowledge
Hidden Social Patterns
The Remaining Data Types
Chapter 6 Step 6: Pick a Data Analysis Method
What Kind of Analysis Does Your Research Question Require?
What Form Does Your Data Take?
What Is Your Unit of Observation? What Is Your Unit of Analysis?
Working With Numeric Data: Describing
Working With Numeric Data: Comparing
Ordinal and Categorical Data
What Statistical Test Should I Use?
Working With Qualitative Data
Respondent-Centered Versus Researcher-Centered Analysis
Internal Versus External Coding
Qualitative Data Analysis (QDA) Software
Summarizing the Six Steps
PART TWO COLLECTING AND ANALYZING DIFFERENT TYPES OF DATA
Chapter 7 Comparing: Economic, Demographic, and Organizational Data
Comparing San Antonio and Portland
Comparing the 50 U.S. States
Comparing Places: Do Walkable Neighborhoods Improve Health?
Comparing Organizations: Does Treating Employees Well Increase Company Performance?
Comparing Schools: Do Charter Schools Improve Student Test Scores?
Chapter 8 Surveying: Shallow Opinions, Identities, and Reports of Acts
Studying School Safety
Kids’ Attitudes Toward Reading
Survey Data Analysis
Analyzing Interval/Ratio Survey Results
Analyzing Ordinal and Categorical Data
Creating Your Questionnaire
Chapter 9 Interviewing: Deep Talk to Gather Several Types of Data
An Example: “Motherloss”
How to Write an Interview Protocol
Coding Your Data
Interviews With Experts
Critical Incident Interviews
How Is It Done?
Other Types of Data
How Many Subjects?
Chapter 10 Scales: Looking for Underlying Traits
Scales of Psychological Well-Being
Using the Scales
Analyzing Scale Research
T-Tests and Analysis of Variance
Chapter 11 Recording Behavior: Acts and Reports of Acts
Watching Gender Speech
A Variation: The Beeper Studies
Ravens and Elephant-Shrews
What If They Hide?
Experiments About Stereotype Threat
Experiments About Discrimination
Rules for Experiments
Chapter 12 Finding Hidden Social Patterns: In Life, Texts, and Popular Culture
About Hidden Patterns
Dreams as Texts
Critical Discourse Analysis
Analyzing Popular Culture: The Soaps
Chapter 13 Ethnography: Exploring Cultural and Social Scenes
The Three Goals
Goal One: Seeing the World as the Participants See It
Goal Two: Watching What Participants Do
On Taking Field Notes
Goal Three: Understanding Hidden Patterns
What Doesn’t Matter
Steps to a Successful Ethnography
Listening to Language
Being an Observed Observer
What About Objectivity?
Writing Your Results
A Word About Grounded Theory
Chapter 14 Extended Example: Counting the Homeless
What Caused the Homeless Crisis?
Who Is Homeless?
How Can We Find and Count Street Homeless?
Peter Rossi’s Chicago Count
Martha Burt’s Weeklong Method
Counting San Bernardino
Correcting National Figures
Summary of the Six Steps
Research Guides and Handouts
Six-Steps Graphic: From Research Question to Data Analysis
What Is a Concept Paper?
How to Choose a Data Collection Method
A Template for Field Notes
How to Write an Interview Protocol
How Many Subjects? (for interview studies)
Interview Rule-of-Thumb Flowchart for Nonrandom Samples
What Statistical Tests Should I Use?