Surveys and Questionnaires

Designing and Doing Survey ResearchAndres, Lesley. 2012. Designing and Doing Survey Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 208p. ISBN: 97818492008130.

Committee Member Review

This book gives an intuitive introduction to the processes and methods of conducting survey research and is a valuable source for undergraduates, graduates students or professionals new to survey research. It includes relevant examples with exercises at the end of each chapter together with a very helpful section “Preparing for Data Analysis” where it provides simple instructions on the use of SPSS. Useful “Ethics Alerts” permeate each section and introduce discussions on relevant issues to consider at different stages of the research process, linking to online resources. The “Text Box” gives access to companion texts and readings that complement the book and effectively broaden the scope of its contents. Its focus on 21st century technologies and issues make this book a relevant and a vital addition to any survey research instruction course.

Reviewed by Lorna Dawes, 2013

 

 

Handbook Of Web SurveysBethlehem, Jelke and Biffignandi, Silvia. 2011. Handbook of Web Surveys. New Jersey: Wiley. 480p. ISBN: 9780470603567.

Committee Member Review

Delving into the theoretical and practical aspects of web surveys this book provides theory, real life examples, key terms and exercises including datasets.

The first introductory chapters give samples of the first web surveys together with some unique survey applications, laying a good foundation for discussions focusing on complications exclusive to web surveys, and the practical advise on design and data collection methodology.

The detailed ‘Applications’ at the end of each chapter give the novice researcher an opportunity to reinforce the theory and the experienced researcher a chance to see the relevance of web surveys in a variety of new ways. This edition also includes a companion website providing a quick reference guide to web survey design, a simulation of an opinion poll, and access to the datasets used in the exercises.

Reviewed by Lorna Dawes, 2013

 

 

The Survey Methods HandbookBuckingham, Alan, and Saunders, Peter. 2004. The Survey Methods Workbook: From Design to Analysis. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. 309p. ISBN: 0745622445.

Committee Member Review

This text allows the reader to participate by working through every stage of the survey design process as they progress through the text. The first section Research Design, examines the method and methodology of research and the process of developing the hypothesis. In section two the authors effectively present the concepts of validity and reliability, and ways to avoid pitfalls in designing questions. They then proceed to focus on how to negotiate meaning, avoid bias, and codify the data in files created in statistics programs, giving an excellent introduction SPSS for the new student researcher. It is supplemented by a web site of electronic appendices that include summaries of key findings from the example surveys used in the book, additional information about research design and statistical tests, and a guide to further reading.

Reviewed by Terry Taylor, March 2006; revised by Lorna Dawes, 2013

 

 

Survey Research MethodsFowler, Floyd J. 2013. Survey Research Methods. Applied Social Research Methods Series. V1. 5th ed. London: SAGE. 184p. ISBN: 9781452259000.

Committee Member Review

Written to give researchers an insight into the concepts about sources of error in surveys, this book helps practitioners understand how managing sources of error impacts survey results. It concentrates on data collection in social surveys, including chapters that discuss procedures, standards for good practice and design decisions that go into the production of the final survey instrument. This new edition brings the book into the 21st century discussing the decline in telephone survey usage and the development and impact of the Internet on survey research. Fowler also addresses the replacement of the landline with cellphones, improvements in pre-survey evaluation techniques and other advances that have already changed or will change the future of survey research methods.

Reviewed by Roxanne Bogucka, Jan. 2009; revised by Lorna Dawes, 2013

 

 

Handbook of Survey Methodology for the Social SciencesGideon, Lior, ed. 2012.  Handbook of Survey Methodology for the Social Sciences.  New York: Springer. 700p. ISBN: 9781461438755.

Committee Member Review

Covering all aspects of survey design and implementation the book begins with an overview of the ways surveys can be classified, complete with an informative appendix of examples and web links.  It is a compilation of ideas and theories from 34 national and international researchers and scholars that address pertinent issues often overlooked by even the most experienced researcher. The authors offer some very insightful guidance and opinions on dealing with sensitive issues, effects of incentives on surveys, theories of survey responses and other current issues particularly relevant to the social scientist, but also applicable to researcher interested in survey methodology. The book is written with the non-statistician in mind and any librarian whether new or experience in research would find this a necessary and valuable source  to consult as they navigate the many issues involved in survey methodology and design.

Reviewed by Lorna Dawes, 2013

 

 

Handbook of Survey ResearchMarsden, Peter V., and James D. Wright, eds. 2010. Handbook of Survey Research. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishers.  903p. ISBN: 9781848552241.

Committee Member Review

Marsden accurately describes this 2010 handbook as filling a ‘vital niche as a single-source compendium’ on survey research (xv). Drawing from the contribution of 48 practitioners and researchers, each section provides exceptional discussions, and statistical analysis with relevant examples. The chapters are comprehensive, and well structured, making this edition a valuable textbook or the ideal handbook for any serious researcher. Few books address as many current topics as this one. The inclusion of chapters such as  ‘Surveys and GIS’, ‘Linking Administrative and Survey Data’, ‘Panel Surveys’ and ‘Survey Experiments’ in addition to discussions on international and cross-cultural surveys, makes this book relevant and a must read for anyone teaching a research methods course, or designing surveys for their own research.

Reviewed by Lorna Dawes, 2013

 

 

Doing Survey ResearchNardi, Peter M. 2013. Doing Survey Research: A Guide to Quantitative Methods. 3rd ed. Boston: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon. 275 p. ISBN: 0205446094.

Committee Member Review

This book focuses on quantitative research methods involving questionnaire surveys. It is targeted to social science students and others who perform institutional research or evaluation surveys. Written at an introductory level, cleverly, each chapter is a step in the research process, three chapters (3-5) devoted to the survey methodology, and four chapters to statistics (Ch. 6-9).  This 3rd edition includes discussions and methods on web-based surveys, updated references and readings and topics related to social media, blogs and the Internet.  To supplement the text book Nardi has included a new “Test Yourself’ section in each chapter of exercise with answers. The companion website containing a resource guide, examples and short review tests, and an instructor manual with test questions, makes this edition particularly useful to new librarians as a self-directed course in survey design, or just as a reference book in basic survey design.

Reviewed by Polly D. Boruff-Jones, March 2000, Roxanne Bogucka, Jan. 2009; revised by Lorna Dawes, 2013

 

 

Questionnaire Research- A practical  guide.Patten, Mildred L. 2011. Questionnaire Research: A Practical Guide. 3rd ed. Los Angeles: Pyrczak Publishing. 146p. ISBN: 9781884585326.

Committee Member Review

The book initiates the beginning researcher in good practice, from planning research, writing quality questionnaire items, effectively testing items and selecting a respondent population, through to analyzing and communicating data through tables and figures, and crafting written reports of research. Four chapters focus specifically on the writing of quality questionnaire items. It is these chapters that make the book an essential for the novice researcher. Each chapter’s content is presented through a balance of succinct text and clear examples, closing with a review exercise. The book concludes with a very useful checklist summary of the guidelines presented throughout the book. Patterns 3rd edition comes with an addition of three new appendices and an updated Appendix A titled ‘Questions on Race Used in the 2010 Census’.

Reviewed by Merinda McLure, March 2006; revised by Lorna Dawes, 2013

 

 

Method and Meaning in Polls and SurveysSchuman, Howard. 2011. Method and Meaning in Polls and Surveys. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 232p. ISBN: 978067406043.

Committee Member Review

Method and Meaning in Polls and Surveys is a reflection on the purposes and goals of surveys and survey researchers. The book dissects questions, investigating how they are asked and worded and examines how this affects the survey responses. It begins with a discussion of the difference between survey questions and questions we ask at social events, and readers should be able to understand how open and closed questions impact the validity of the survey, and how they can increase the survey validity by using both types of questions appropriately. Schuman introduces us to a clear explanation of the use of ‘probing’ questions, their value and differing applications in surveys and polls and address issues of context and the use of other kinds of evidence. This book gives rare insight into the structure of questions and responses, and the subtle differences between polls and surveys. Not a handbook or guide, but a theoretical commentary on issues that are relevant to any researcher, regardless of their field of expertise.

Reviewed by Roxanne Bogucka , Jan. 2009; revised by Lorna Dawes, 2013

 

Collecting, managing, and assessing data using sample surveys.Stopher, Peter. 2012. Collecting, Managing, and Assessing Data Using Sample Surveys Cambridge,UK:Cambridge University Press. 534p. ISBN: 9780521863117.

Committee Member Review

In this accessible guide to designing surveys, Stopher succeeds at taking the researcher from the “inception of the survey itself through to archiving the data” (1). Although examples are taken from the area of transport planning they illustrate the principles accurately and provide data, sample surveys, survey questions, and insight into the discussion relating to the design and methodology decisions that were made. The book concludes with some potent commentaries on the ‘Future Direction in Survey Procedures’ discussing the impact of globalization on language and literacy, the use of administrative data, and an interesting section on the use of GPS devices in conducting household travel surveys. Written for the graduate student this book would be suitable for any professional looking for a good reference in survey design and methodology.

Reviewed by Lorna Dawes, 2013

 

 

Conducting Online SurveysSue, Valerie M., and Lois A. Ritter. 2012.  Conducting Online Surveys. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 264p. ISBN: 9781412992251.

Committee Member Review

This supplemental text requires no foreknowledge of statistics or research methods. While it does address some universal survey issues, the focus is on topics peculiar to the email and web environment, such as: workflows and timelines, and sampling techniques and errors in online surveys; question format and phrasing, recruitment, response rate, duplication prevention and online survey ethics. The second edition updates chapter 2 by addressing three different types of digital surveys: e-mail, website and mobile surveys; expands the discussion on software including data security and anti-spam software; and adds chapter exercises and online flashcards for students. It is written for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in survey research methods.

Reviewed by Roxanne Bogucka, Jan. 2009; revised by Lorna Dawes, 2013
 
 
 
 

The Science of Web SurveysTourangeau, Roger, Frederick G. Conrad, and Mick Couper. 2013. The Science of Web Surveys. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 198p. ISBN: 9780199747047.

Committee Member Review

This unique book provides a review of the literature on Web data collection focusing on the scientific evidence about web surveys. The authors provide a appraisal of what is known about web surveys, and also include unpublished conference proceedings that are vital to the discussion. The chapters summarize issues, provide meta-analysis of studies, stimulate discussion and give the reader a deeper understanding of the properties of web surveys.  The book examines Sampling and Coverage, Nonresponse, Measurement issues and issues associated with combining modes. Chapter 5 “The Web as a Visual Medium” examines the impact of visual appearance and helps researchers interpret these features and use them appropriately in their survey design. The valuable ‘Recommendations for Web Surveys’ at the end of chapter 8, gives a good summary of the literature findings and should be read by everyone before they embark on any web survey research.

Reviewed by Lorna Dawes, 2013
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Interviews

Interviews 1Kvale, Steinar, and Brinkmann, Svend. 2009. InterViews: Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing. Los Angeles: Sage Publications. 354p. ISBN: 0761925422.

Committee Member Review

Designed for both students and professionals, this user-friendly guide clearly outlines the “whys” and “hows” of research interviewing in a wide range of social science disciplines. The authors take a “learn by doing” approach as they showcase practical, real world examples of epistemological and ethical issues in a variety of interview forms. The text guides the reader through the seven stages of an interview investigation from proposal and questions to the actual interviews and analysis. There is a strong emphasis on the craft of interviewing as well as a thorough discussion of the transcription process and evaluation of results. New to the second edition is a chapter on linguistic modes of interview analysis as well as new materials covering narrative, discursive, and conversational analyses.

Reviewed by April Hines, 2013
 

Library 7Josselson, Ruthellen. 2013. Interviewing for Qualitative Inquiry: A Relational Approach. New York: Guildford Press. 206 p. ISBN: 1462510000.

Committee Member Review

Perfect for those new to research interviewing, this simple, easy to follow text guides the reader through the entire interview study process. Each step is illustrated with excerpts from actual interviews on diverse topics. Readers learn how to develop questions that elicit meaningful narratives and develop skills for empathic listening and response. Josselson, who is the cofounder of the Society for Qualitative Inquiry and has taught interview research workshops all over the world, provides annotated examples of good and bad interviews, along with a chapter on interviewing dos and don’ts. Interview aids, follow up questions and a sample consent form are especially helpful. The interviewer/interviewee relationship is a major emphasis of the text and the reader learns to balance human connection with scientific inquiry.

Reviewed by April Hines, 2013
 

book cover 2Seidman, Irving. 2013. Interviewing as Qualitative Research: A Guide for Researchers in Education and the Social Sciences. New York: Teachers College Press. 178p. ISBN: 9780807754047.

Committee Member Review

Written for doctoral candidates in search of a methodology, experienced researchers new to in-depth interviewing, and professors looking for a text that connects methods and techniques with qualitative research; the step-by-step approach of this guide makes it useful for individuals and classes. This guide focuses on phenomenological interviewing, which “combines life-history interviewing…and focused, in-depth interviewing informed by assumptions drawn from phenomenology …”. This approach involves interviewers using primarily open-ended questions and building upon participant’s responses to reconstruct his/her experience. The author discusses when interviewing is appropriate, how to select and contact participants, and interpreting and sharing interview material. The fourth edition has been completely updated and expanded to include important new material on ethical issues, long-distance interviewing, computer-assisted data analysis, and more.

Reviewed by Terry Taylor, 2006; revised by April Hines, 2013

last book coverKing, Nigel, and Horrocks, Christine. 2010. Interviews in Qualitative Research. Los Angeles: Sage. 248p. ISBN: 1412912571.

Committee Member Review

Written in a clear concise style, Interviews in Qualitative Research speaks to a broad range of disciplines including the social, educational and health sciences. With a focus on phenomenological and narrative interview forms, this guide offers a great deal of real-world advice and examples. The importance of philosophical and ethical approaches to the interview process is stressed, and a chapter on the thematic analysis of interview data is especially helpful to researchers. The authors discuss “key debates in philosophy and theory underlying interview methods” as well as the most effective methods to designing and carrying out interviews. Information on special requirements of online interviewing is particularly relevant, including a section on using Skype (video chat) for remote interviews.

Reviewed by April Hines, 2013
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Case Studies

Case Study Research: Principles and PracticesGerring, John. 2007. Case Study Research: Principles and Practices. New York: Cambridge University Press. 265 p. ISBN: 052185928X.

Committee Member Review

Beginning with a concise historical overview and a detailed definition and discussion of the case study method, Gerring’s cross-disciplinary textbook provides a rigorous foundation in case study research for social scientists. Readers will find illustrative examples and will learn when and how to employ case study methodologies for causal analysis in a variety of social science fields. The author’s analytical arguments are of particular value for those interested in thoughtful research design.

Reviewed by Ramona Islam, Jan. 2009
 
 
 
 
 
 

Doing Case Study ResearchHancock, Dawson R., and R. Algozzine. 2011. Doing Case Study Research: A Practical Guide for Beginning Researchers. 2nd Ed. New York: Teacher’s College Press. 106p. ISBN: 0807752681.

Committee Member Review

This handbook is geared to novice researchers in education and the health professions. Its aim is to demystify the process of planning, conducting, and reporting the results of case study research. Assuming no prior knowledge or experience on the part of the reader, Hancock and Algozzine’s text serves as an invaluable introduction to the case study method. This edition has been updated to include new examples, new information about evaluating case studies, and using social media to introduce research.

Reviewed by Ramona Islam, Jan. 2009, revised by Amy Kelly, 2013
 
 
 
 
 
 

Case Study Research: Design and MethodsYin, Robert K. 2013. Case Study Research: Design and Methods. Applied Social Research Methods Series 5. 5th ed. City, ST: Sage Publications. 240p. ISBN: 1452242569.

Committee Member Review

The new fifth edition of Robert K. Yin’s popular textbook has several updates and additions. The book still includes various types of case study research designs, methodologies, and analyses useful for researchers in education, business, health sciences, anthropology, sociology and political science; however, Yin has added several case studies and tutorials. Finally, Yin has focused more heavily on logic, values and ethics in this edition.

Reviewed by Ramona Islam, Jan. 2009, revised by Amy Kelly 2013
 
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Data Analysis

Dey, Ian. 1993. Qualitative Data Analysis: A User-Friendly Guide for Social Scientists. New York: Routledge. 285p. ISBN: 041505852X.

Committee Member Review

Published in 1993, this book is rather dated as it focuses on the role computers play in qualitative data analysis – a relatively new concept for qualitative research at the time. Although specific software packages are not discussed, issues and methods of qualitative analysis using computer applications are described in the context of what was available at the time the book was written and, of course, much has changed in the intervening years. Still, the author’s advice on the more general aspects of organizing qualitative research and data analysis may remain useful to the social science researcher. The author’s humorous approach makes the book a more interesting read than the subject might suggest.

Reviewed by Polly D. Boruff-Jones, March 2006
 
 
 
 

Grbich, Carol. 2007. Qualitative Data Analysis: An Introduction. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Limited. 358p. ISBN: 1-4129-2143-0.

Committee Member REview

Reviewed by Grbich’s book is slim, but includes a great deal of pertinent overview information regarding data analysis as it relates to qualitative research. Her approach involves dividing data analysis into three parts – determining the approach, analyzing the documentation, and then writing up the data. The book starts out with an overview of the major epistemological traditions, followed by an examination of the various analytical approaches one might take, such as ethnographic or feminist. Following this is an interesting discussion of the analyses of documentation via methods such as content analysis, narrative analysis, visual interpretation, etc. Lastly, there is a chapter on writing up the data and data display, and a brief section on qualitative data analysis computer programs. The book is logically constructed, concise and includes a good bibliography for those interested in further reading on a particular topic.

Reviewed by Christopher Cox, January 2007
 
 
 
 

Krippendorff, Klaus. 2004. Content Analysis: An Introduction to its Methodology. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. xxiii, 413p. ISBN: 0761915451.

Committee Member Review

A substantive exploration of content analysis, its procedures and protocols, this very thorough text will be usefully considered by librarians seeking to explore the behavior, attitudes, and opinions of library users by “analyzing meaningful matter, texts, images, and voices” that is, data whose physical manifestations are secondary to what they mean to particular populations of people” (xxii).

While advanced and graduate students in social science disciplines are the primary, intended audience of this textbook, the effective introduction suggests different starting points for other users. Likewise, the pragmatic Chapter 14 is a practice-oriented summary of concepts previously presented and will serve readers as an overview and a quick pointer to more detailed discussion in earlier chapters. This edition is a comprehensive revision of the first and an extensive text; bold subheadings and Chapter 14 will particularly help practitioners use this text for select, pragmatic reading, while others will appreciate the full scope of this detailed discussion of content analysis.

Reviewed by Merinda McLure, March 2006
 
 
 
 

Miles, Matthew B., and A. Michael Huberman. 1994. Qualitative Data Analysis: An Expanded Sourcebook. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. xiv, 352p. ISBN: 0803955405.

Committee Member Review

Focusing on data analysis (rather than broader research design and administration) and designed as a sourcebook of resources, this is a practical, extensive text intended for both beginning and practicing researchers.

Chapters discuss data display and analysis methods: each method is introduced in the context of an analysis problem, briefly described, and illustrated. Variations are noted and “Advice” and “Time required” sections complete the discussion. Illustrative examples are intended to facilitate active consideration of the method and in addition the authors note that the text will be most effective when researchers are concurrently working with real data.  While now an older text, this book’s practical, interactive approach provides many examples for developing researchers and an extensive bibliography. (*This review is of the 2nd cloth edition, now out of print.)

Reviewed by Merinda McLure, March 2006
 
 
 
 

Neuendorf, Kimberly A. 2002. Content Analysis Guidebook. London, UK: Sage Publications. 301p. ISBN: 0761919775.

Committee Member Review

This textbook is geared toward upper-level undergrads and grads in the social sciences and is useful for practitioners who are new to research or are unfamiliar with this particular methodology. Ms. Neuendorf defines various qualitative content analyses to clearly distinguish these from the quantitative approach to content analyses. Furthermore, Chapters 6 (Measurement Techniques), 7 (Reliability) and 8 (Results Reporting) remind us generally about standard practices and specifically those aspects related to the content analysis methodology. In chapter 9 (Contexts), the Web and email messages are briefly differentiated from other types of messages. 

The final segments of the text are five chapter-like segments entitled “Resources,” functioning somewhat like appendices. Resource 1 lists and annotates various message archives. Resource 2, provides tips for content analysts searching the “NEXIS” portion of “LEXIS-NEXIS”. Resource 3 reviews about two dozen software programs. Resource 4 reviews a particular computer program “PRAM” which relates to intercoder-reliability and Resource 5 describes the supplemental material to be found in the Designing qualitative research online.  References and indices are also included.

Reviewed by Alison Armstrong, April 2006; revised by Rebecca K. Miller, January 2014
 
 
 
 

Richards, Lyn. 2005. Handling Qualitative Data: A Practical Guide. London, UK: Sage Publications. 207p. ISBN: 0761942580.

Committee Member Review

The author credits her several thousand research-methods students with giving her insights for developing practical ways to teach basic qualitative research skills. She says in her preface, “This book is for the many (out of and inside academia) who have neither access to courses on methodological issues nor time to do them, yet are confronted with a project and wish to learn how they can best deal with it.” (x).  She writes as a friendly mentor, often beginning a chapter section with a question, and then succinctly answering it. The emphasis is not on teaching specific research methods (for this, she refers the reader to another book she has co-authored, Readme first for a user’s guide to qualitative method,) as much as it is teaching the skills and understanding of the issues involved to process the data, regardless of the method used.

The book’s ten chapters are divided into three parts, which include “Setting up: What’s involved in starting a project”; “Working with the data: Including coding”; and “Making sense of your data: Interpreting what you have done.” A unique feature of the book is the layout of each chapter using different fonts, shading, side bars, and graphics, and even icons, to produce a highly readable text. A short list of references, as well as an index is included. Recommended as a clear, practical guide for novice researchers.

Reviewed by Christen Cardina, December 2005; revised by Rebecca K. Miller, January 2014
 
 
 
 

Riessman, Catherine Kohler. 1993. Narrative Analysis. Qualitative Research Methods Series. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications. vii, 78p. ISBN: 0803947542.

Committee Member Review

In this slim text, Riessman introduces narrative analysis as a means to “see how respondents in interviews impose order on the flow of experience to make sense of events and actions in their lives,” (2) and to explore “why was the story told that way?” (2).

Librarians may find this a brief and engaging work to consider as they design and analyze interviews, keeping in mind Riessman’s note that “in qualitative interviews, typically most of the talk is not narrative but question-and-answer exchanges, arguments, and other forms of discourse” (3). While for most this text may be an enjoyable read rather than an essential reference, novice researchers may find Riessman’s artful writing and discussion particularly thought provoking when considering how they are situated as researchers; in relation their interview subjects, and as active agents in the research process. Three main sections follow the introduction: “Theoretical contexts”, “Practical models,” and “Doing narrative analysis”. The concluding two-page section, “Use and limitations of narrative analysis”, is a useful alternative starting point and the comprehensive bibliography is intended to point to additional discussions of ideas only briefly introduced.

Reviewed by Merinda McLure, March 2006
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Research Design

Creswell_Research_DesignCreswell, John W.  2014. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. 4th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.  304 p. ISBN: 9781452226095.

COMMITTEE MEMBER REVIEW

This work is the fourth edition of the pioneering study of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research design by leading qualitative research expert, John W. Creswell of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.  Creswell discusses the philosophical assumptions behind the different research methods, gives a literature review, an assessment of the use of theory in research approaches, and also examines the importance of writing and ethical considerations in research design.  This edition contains an extensive discussion of mixed methods research and an emphasis upon worldwide perspectives in research design.  The book is a comprehensive textbook on research design that will benefit librarians seeking an overview of qualitative methods and quantitative methods, and is a practical guide to research principles and basic theoretical assumptions.

Reviewed by David Oberhelman, 2013
 
 

Research Design and Methods: A Process ApproachBordens, Kenneth and Bruce Barrington Abbott. 2013. Research Design and Methods: A Process Approach. 9th ed. McGraw-Hill. 608p. ISBN: 0078035457.

COMMITTEE MEMBER REVIEW

A textbook designed for use in research methods courses, this book provides a thorough overview of most aspects of the research process, from developing research questions to choosing a design, and finally analyzing and reporting results. Specific methods and considerations (observation, ethical practice, surveys) are also explained. While not all topics in this broad introduction may be relevant to librarian-researchers, many will, and this book could provide a helpful overview of the research design process in general or serve as a refresher for particular topics of relevance.

Reviewed by Catherine Fraser Riehle, 2013
 
 
 

Educational ResearchCreswell, John W. 2012. Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research. 4th ed. Boston: Pearson. 672p. ISBN: 0131367390.

COMMITTEE MEMBER REVIEW

Over twice the length of Creswell’s fourth and latest edition of Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, this book covers many of the same topics, from research design to implementation, communication, and evaluation. Also included are descriptions of qualitative and quantitative methodologies, though in this title, readers will find more in-depth treatments in the context of educational research in particular. Key changes to this edition include additions related to ethical issues and more current sample articles. Often appreciated of Creswell’s work, clear and practical writing guides readers through all aspects of the educational research process.

Reviewed by Catherine Fraser Riehle, 2013
 
 

Research Design in Social ResearchDe Vaus, David. 2001. Research Design in Social Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 279p. ISBN: 0761953477.

Committee Member Review

As the title suggests, Research Design in Social Research is a text primarily focused on the importance and specifics of design. De Vaus begins by distinguishing between research design and methodology. Once this is established, he offers definitions of standard terms and concepts, then leads the reader through important types of social science research design: case studies, cross-sectional, experimental, longitudinal, and so on. The author discusses each area of design in terms of tools required, possible issues, and data analysis.

The text is useful to both novice and more advanced researchers. The author provides clear and concise definitions, directions, and examples. Librarians, who are often required to do research, and who are commonly untrained in research design, would do well to consult this book.

Reviewed by Christopher Hollister, March 2006; revised by Catherine Fraser Riehle in 2013
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Researching Library and Information Science

practical research methodsBeck, Susan E., and Kate Manuel. 2007. Practical Research Methods for Librarians and Information Professionals. New York: Neal-Schuman. 306p. ISBN: 1555705916.

Committee Member Review

Intended for both the novice an expert researcher, this excellent textbook provide a practical and comprehensive view of how to conduct research in our field. Susan Beck and Kate Manuel examine an array of commonly used research methodologies and exemplify their successful application with real examples of studies reported in the LIS literature.

Reviewed by Jaquelina Alvarez, 2009
 
 
 

Using Qualitative Methods in Action ResearchCook, Douglas, and Lesley  Farmer. 2011. Using Qualitative Methods in Action Research: How Librarians Can Get to the Why of Data. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries. 252p. ISBN: 9780838985762.

Committee Member Review

This book is a collection of separately authored chapters intended for librarians who want to utilize qualitative methods in an action research framework focused on defining and investigating problems and typically to use the findings to develop solutions. The book is divided into three sections. Part 1 outlines the theoretical foundations of qualitative research and action research. Part 2 introduces methodologies and specific data collection methods, including discourse analysis, content analysis, interviews, observations, and focus groups.  Part 3 provides examples of actually research projects that utilized some of the methods described in Part 2. While not going into a great deal of depth, this book provides a useful and very accessible overview of qualitative approaches to action research.

Reviewed by Clarence Maybee, 2013
 
 

qualitative researchGorman, G.E., and Peter Clayton. 2005. Qualitative Research for the Information Professional: A Practical Handbook. 2nd ed. London, UK: Facet Publishing. 282p. ISBN: 1856044726.

Committee Member Review

True to its title, this is a practical, focused, and very accessible text intended for students, practitioners, and researchers in information settings. A substantial revision of the 1997 edition with two new chapters, this book guides the reader through an introductory discussion of qualitative research and on to more detailed discussions of four major investigative techniques (observation, interviewing, group discussion, and historical study).  The authors explore the critical evaluation of qualitative research, fieldwork, data analysis, and finally the written reporting of processes and findings. A concluding bibliography provides additional, suggested readings and is usefully divided into three categories: theoretical writings, discussions of specific methods/issues, and published qualitative studies that may serve as informative examples.

Reviewed by Merinda McLure, 2006 
 

Case Study Research: A Program Evaluation Guide for LibrariansGreen, Ravonne. 2011. Case Study Research: A Program Evaluation Guide for Librarians. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited. ISBN: 159158860X.

Committee Member Review

Case Study Research: A Program Evaluation Guide for Librarians helps librarians assess programs via case studies. Green has developed a hypothetical case study, and uses it to guide library researchers through the entire process of evaluation, from planning to data collection. The book also discusses ethics and relationships, data collection and management, and template and software options. Each chapter contains a case, questions and exercises. Finally, it has a brief glossary and several appendices.

Reviewed by Amy Kelly, 2013
 

Exploring Methods in LI ResearchLipu, Suzanne, Kristy Williamson, and Annemaree Lloyd. 2007. Exploring Methods in Information Literacy Research. Wagga Wagga, N.S.W: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University. 196p. ISBN: 978187693861.

Committee Member Review

This book is a collection of chapters by different authors discussing various research methods used to study information literacy. The first chapter places information literacy research in a broader discussion of positivism and interpretivism.  The following chapters, all by notable researchers, describe different research methods and approaches, such as surveys, critical incident technique, grounded theory, phenomenography, and focus groups. Two chapters are dedicated to weighing the pros and cons of adopting evidence-based practice models. A final chapter discusses alternative approaches, such as feminist and cross-cultural research methods. Although readers considering using any of these methods would need to explore additional resources, this book is an excellent introduction to qualitative research methods used to study information literacy.

Reviewed by Clarence Maybee, 2013
 
 

evaluation and measurementMatthews, Joseph R. 2007. The Evaluation and Measurement of Library Services. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited. 372p. ISBN: 9781591585329.

Committee Member Review

The author begins this by differentiating research from evaluation. While the first “is concerns about rigorous methodology and publication” the latter “employs standard research for evaluative purposes.” Even though this is not purely a research textbook, practitioners, especially those in administrative positions will find useful information about systematically collecting and analyzing evidence about library programs and services.

Reviewed by Jaquelina Alvarez, 2009
 
 

Qualitative research in information systems : a readerMyers, Michael D., and D. E. Avison. 2002. Qualitative Research in Information Systems: A Reader. London, UK: Sage Publications. 312p. ISBN: 0761966323.

Committee Member Review

This book is a collection of scholarly articles written by leading IS researchers with the intent of making them more accessible to students, scholars, and those doing qualitative research in other fields. The chapters are divided into four parts: “Overview of Qualitative Research,” “Philosophical Perspectives,” “Qualitative Research Methods,” and “Modes of Analyzing and Interpreting Qualitative Data.” Each chapter in Part III, “Qualitative Research Methods,” discusses the strengths and limitations of specific research methods such as “action research,” “case studies,” “ethnographic research methods,” and “grounded theory.” The editors assume that the reader has a basic knowledge of qualitative research methods and statistics. This collection would help those experienced library and information specialists working in the area of qualitative research in information systems.

Reviewed by Christen Cardina, 2005
 
 

Research methods in informationPickard, Alison Jane. 2005. Research Methods in Information. London, UK: Facet Publishing. 336p. ISBN: 1856045452.

Committee Member Review

Although this book is intended for practitioners, it can used as introductory research methods textbook for undergraduate and graduate classes. While few discussions are narrowly focused on British cases, provides a solid introduction to research methods, both qualitative and quantitative, analyzing data and presenting results.

Reviewed by Jaquelina Alvarez, 2009
 
 

Basic Research Methods for LibrariansPowell, Ronald R., and Lynn Silipigni Connaway. 2004. Basic Research Methods for Librarians. 5th ed. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited. 360p. ISBN: 1591588650.

Committee Member Review

Now in its fifth edition, this book is specifically for librarians and library and information science students. The methods are applicable to most social science research but examples and illustrations are geared specifically to the library setting. The primary emphasis of the book is on quantitative research. The book begins with an overview of research in librarianship, followed by chapters on the development of a research study and ways to select the appropriate methodology. Several types of research are covered: surveys, experimental, qualitative, and historical, with an emphasis on sampling and the associated issues. This edition updates references and adds many sections, including several that deal with technology and social media, as well as usability testing.

Reviewed by Terry Taylor, 2006, revised by Amy Kelly, 2013
 
 

Handbook of usability TestingRubin, Jeffrey. 2008. Handbook of Usability Testing: How to Plan, Design, and Conduct Effective Tests. New York: Wiley. 330p. ISBN: 0471594032.

Committee Member Review

This book addresses the planning, design, implementation, and analysis of usability tests. It is geared to an audience with little or no experience in usability engineering and would also be useful for college and university students. The first part of the handbook introduces fours types of usability tests: exploratory (for early stages of the development cycle), assessment (once the basic design or organization is in place), validation (late in the development cycle to verify the product’s usability), and comparison (used at any stage of development). Part two discusses testing environments and recommends one for organizations just beginning the testing process. Other chapters provide a step-by-step approach to conducting a usability test as well as strategies for setting up a usability program within your organization.

Reviewed by Terry Taylor, 2006
 
 

Knowledge into actionWallace, Danny P., and Connie Van Fleet. 2012. Knowledge into Action: Research and Evaluation in Library and Information Science. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited. 388p. ISBN: 1598849751.

Committee Member Review

This book provides a basic overview of research methods useful to anyone wanting to learn about or conduct library or information science research.  Designed to inform the work of practitioners in the field, the book covers a variety of methods, including historical, questionnaires, interviews, observations and experiments. One chapter discusses research ethics and specific ethical concerns related to conducting research in library settings. There is a chapter on bibliometrics and citation analysis and another that provides a broad overview of data analysis.  While readers would likely need another book to explore the details of a specific method, this book provides a useful overview of research methods for use in library or information science research and evaluation.

Reviewed by Clarence Maybee, 2013
 
 

Identifying and analyzing user needsWestbrook, Lynn. 2001. Identifying and Analyzing User Needs: A Complete Handbook and Ready-to-use Assessment Workbook with Disk. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers. 307p. ISBN: 1555703887.

Committee Member Review

The focus of Westbrook’s book is on conducting a community information needs analysis in libraries. Discussed within this context, there are chapters focused on matching data collection methods to research questions and the development of research instruments. The brief definitions of statistical terms in Chapter 8 do not provide adequate explanations for anyone new to data analysis. While specific to library settings, the further readings on each topic are now somewhat dated.  Part handbook and part instruction manual, this book is divided into ten chapters with the final section consisting of Appendices (including case studies), suggested readings, cited works, glossary, and index. This book fills a specific niche in conducting library research although it would not be recommended for an overview of library research methods.

Reviewed by Christen Cardina, 2005
 
 

Evaluating reference servicesWhitlach, Jo Bell. 2000. Evaluating Reference Services: A Practical Guide. Chicago: American Library Association. 226p. ISBN: 0838907873.

Committee Member Review

This volume is a straightforward manual of the basic techniques and examples of data collection for reference. Techniques for researching instruction settings or online searching by appointment are outside the scope of this book. The book is divided into four parts: planning, which succinctly explains the what and why of the process; evaluation methods, which discusses the strengths and weaknesses of common techniques; data and results, which contains an overview of issues related to data collection and analysis; and an extensive annotated bibliography. Since this book was published in 2000, the bibliography is somewhat out of date, but it is still an excellent starting point. Users should find this a helpful tool in navigating the evaluation of this sometimes neglected area of library services.

Reviewed by Anna Pilston, 2006
 

Applications of social research methods to questions in information and library scienceWildemuth, Barbara M. 2009. Applications of Social Research Methods to Questions in Information and Library Science. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited. 420p. ISBN: 1591585031.

Committee Member Review

This text focuses on improving practice in the library and information science fields through research best practices. Wildemuth focuses first on developing research questions, then discusses different types of research designs and sampling. The majority of the book, however, looks at both data collection and data analysis. She covers 13 different types of data collection, such as research diaries, focus groups, and observation. The chapters about data analysis include detailed aspects of statistics. The final chapter offers examples of ways that research can be put to use for particular institutions and the profession in at large.

Reviewed by Amy Kelly, 2013
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Introduction to Quantitative Research

Gorard, Stephen. 2003. Quantitative Methods in Social Science. New York: Continuum. 252p. ISBN: 9780826465863.

Committee Member Review

If you are considering undertaking a survey or other quantitative research project, Gorard’s book is an essential guide. Gorard’s main theme is to think carefully about your motives for using quantitative methods, and then plan your project from sampling and survey design through data analysis. The book will be useful to those with some basic statistical knowledge, as well as relative novices. The explanations are written in clear prose, and there are useful examples from real research throughout.  Gorard provides a brief, but effective, glossary of statistical terms, as well as a list of references to more detailed treatments of quantitative methods.

Quantitative methods in social science will be of real use in the design phase of any project that makes use of numbers, even simple descriptive statistics. The book is especially strong in explaining the fundamental concepts and principles underlying statistical methods and analysis so that researchers can make better and more informed choices. In an age when software tools make it relatively easy to collect numbers, Gorard’s book is a welcome prescriptive for using numbers in a sound and effective way.

Reviewed by Wendy Holliday, March 2006; revised by Rebecca K. Miller, January 2014
 
 
 
 

Maleske, Robert Thomas. 1995. Foundations for Gathering and Interpreting Behavioral Data: An Introduction to statistics. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Corporation. 464p. ISBN: 0534237428.

COMMITTEE MEMBER REVIEW

The author states that this is her response to other elementary statistics and resource methods textbooks. He faults these books for focusing on statistical analysis as an end in itself. He intends for this work to “help readers understand the process of gathering and interpreting behavioral data” (vii). The author believes that readers will most easily understand information when they can related it with their own experiences, and states that experience in observing everyday people and events, questioning observations, and making interpretations is the only prerequisite for using this book.

The book is divided into three main sections, “Understanding descriptive statistics,” “Understanding inferential statistics,” and “Selecting and interpreting statistical analyses,” with each section containing 3-6 chapters. Sections and chapters begin with verbs to emphasize the use to which information surveyed in the chapter will be covered. Each chapter begins with a list of objectives and concludes with a summary, key terms/concepts, and exercises. The text within each chapter is broken up by the liberal use of headings, graphs, tables and charts.  A series of appendices, which includes answers to selected exercises, as well as an index, rounds out this book.

Reviewed by Rob Withers, April 2006
 
 
 
 

Osborne, Jason W. 2008. Best Practices in Quantitative Methods. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications. 608p. ISBN: 1412940658.

Committee Member Review

This collection of best practices in quantitative research methods is intended for graduate level students and researchers. The text, featuring a variety of international academics, includes best practices in measurement, research design, data analysis, quantitative methods and best advanced methods in quantitative methods. The text aims to provide the reader with best practices and, when possible, demonstrate why those practices are deserving of the term ‘best’.

Reviewed by Catherine Johnson, Jan. 2009
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Introduction to Qualitative Research

Qualitative research methods for the social sciencesBerg, Bruce L. 2011. Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences. 8th ed. Boston, MA: Pearson. 448p. ISBN: 9780205809387.

Committee Member Review

This book offers comprehensive coverage of qualitative techniques and does it in a way that is easy to read and follow. The author’s central purpose is to instruct naive researchers to effectively collect, organize, and construe qualitative data, while stressing the importance of ethics in research and of properly designing and thinking through any research endeavor. Readers should be able to design, collect, and analyze data and then present their results to the scientific community. Berg considers seven different data collection strategies in detail. Qualitative research methods describes focus group interviewing, one of the fastest growing styles of data collection, in detail including a new Moderator’s Guide that provides the inexperienced focus group facilitator with a step-by-step guide to how the interview should be conducted.  This edition includes software and internet tools for research design and data collection.

Reviewed by Mark Spasser, December 2005, Amy Deuink, Jan. 2009, revised by David Oberhelman, 2013
 
 
 

Qualitative Inquiry and Research DesignCreswell, John W. 1997. Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Traditions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 403p. ISBN: 0761901442.

Committee Member Review

This book explores the philosophical underpinnings, history and key elements of each of five qualitative inquiry traditions: biography, phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography and case study. Creswell relates research designs to each of the traditions of inquiry and consistently compares each of the research strategies for theoretical frameworks, writing introduction to studies, collecting data, analyzing data, writing the narrative, and employing standards of quality and verifying results. Creswell manages to clearly explain differences and similarities of the five methods. Vocabulary, glossaries, examples and illustrations make each of the methodologies come alive to the reader. It is excellent as a review for someone who is writing their thesis, or for a new graduate student to grasp an understanding of qualitative methods. Chapters include designing a qualitative study, philosophical and theoretical traditions, and standards of quality and verification. Appendixes include examples of a biography, a phenomenology, grounded theory, and an ethnography.

Reviewed by Mark Spasser, December 2005, revised by David Oberhelman, 2013
 
 
 

Designing Qualitative ResearchGorman, G. E., and Clayton, P. 2005. Qualitative Research For The Information Professional: A Practical Handbook. 2nd ed. Chicago: Neal-Schuman. 282p. ISBN: 9781856044721.

Committee Member Review

The second edition of this well-reviewed and accessible text serves as a brief theoretical and highly practical introduction to qualitative research by information professionals, for information professionals. The title briefly discusses the value of information research to information work and evaluating the existing qualitative research upon which new research is based, before delving into practical information on conducting qualitative research. These topics include: research design; the case study; conducting fieldwork using observation, interviewing, group discussion, and historical investigation; recording and analyzing your data; and, writing up your research findings.

Reviewed by Amy Deuink, Jan. 2009
 
 

Designing Qualitative ResearchMarshall, Catherine, and Gretchen B. Rossman. 1999. Designing Qualitative Research, 5th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 224 p., ISBN: 9781412970440.

Committee Member Review

Written for academic researchers and policy analysts, Designing qualitative research is a guide to writing (designing) successful qualitative research proposals. The authors identify and examine two major themes that run through the book: 1) the notion that “design flexibility is a crucial feature of qualitative inquiry…” and 2) the research proposal as an argument with the “primary purpose [of convincing] the reader that the research is substantive, will contribute to the field … and that the researcher is capable of conducting the research…” The book’s introduction discusses characteristics and typologies of qualitative research, challenges of conducting such research, and the process of developing an argument. In other chapters the authors describe how to build a proposal, research design, data collection, analysis, and management, planning time and resources, and defending the value of qualitative research. New to the fifth edition are sections on ethical issues, internet ethnographies, race and queer theories, and an expanded discussion of data analysis.

Reviewed by Polly D. Boruff-Jones, March 2006, revised by David Oberhelman, 2013
 
 

Qualitative Research DesignMaxwell, Joseph Alex. 2013. Qualitative Research Design: An Interactive Approach.  Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.  218p. ISBN: 9781412981194.

Committee Member Review

Maxwell provides a straightforward, easy-to-follow guide to qualitative research methods design for both students and advanced researchers that will be of great benefit to both novice and advanced users.  The book discusses how the various components of research design interact and provides a series of checklists, exercises, personal accounts, anecdotes, and examples from sources such as folktales and films which can help graduate students and others developing their first qualitative research studies, and he offers succinct tips for experiences researchers on grant writing and other aspects for applying qualitative methods to their proposals.  Although it is an introductory text, librarians seeking a solid background in qualitative design will want to consult this book for an easily accessible overview of the research process.

Reviewed by David Oberhelman, 2013
 
 

Qualitative Research in PracticeMerriam, Sharan B., ed. 2002. Qualitative Research in Practice. San Francisco, CA: Jossey- Bass. 439p. ISBN: 0787958956.

Committee Member Review

This book is intended as supplement to more standard textbooks for students or practitioners in the social sciences who want to learn more about qualitative research through reading and studying articles. Although not focused specifically on library science, the preface notes that the although different questions asked by disciplines as diverse as education, nursing, social work, or urban studies, the strategies of qualitative inquiry are the same in each of these areas. The preface notes that “qualitative research” can be applied to interpretive, critical, feminist, post-structural, Marxist, and participatory research, with the majority of chapters reflecting an interpretive approach to research. Qualitative research in practice consists of two chapters that explain qualitative research and discuss ways of assessing and evaluating it, and a second section of 16 articles exemplifying different types of qualitative research and a concluding chapter. References are included, as is an index.

Reviewed by Rob Withers, April 2006, revised by David Oberhelman, 2013
 
 

Readme First for a User Guide to Qualitative MethodsMorse, Janice M., and Lyn Richards. 2013. Readme First for a User’s Guide to Qualitative Methods. 3rd Ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 288p. ISBN: 9781412998062.

COMMITTEE Member Review

Morse and Richards provide a substantial introduction to three traditions of qualitative research: phenomenology, grounded theory, and ethnography. The goal of the book is to educate readers about the various, purposive choices that qualitative researchers need to make in order to design and conduct good qualitative research projects. The theme of purposiveness runs through the book, as Morse and Richards return to the three traditions of qualitative research as touchstones. Morse and Richards argue that researchers need to return to the larger questions of purpose and theoretical methods during project planning, data collection, data analysis, and writing up research. Researchers need to think their projects through, from beginning to end, and make the best choices from a range of strategies. This book is meant for practitioners and students who are thinking about beginning qualitative research. It is especially useful to beginners because it does not advocate a particular method.

Reviewed by Wendy Holliday, March 2006, Amy Deuink, Jan. 2009, revised by David Oberhelman, 2013
 
 

Qualitative Research & Evaluation MethodsPatton, Michael Quinn. 2002. Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. xxiv, 688p. ISBN: 0761919716.

COMMITTEE MEMber Review

This volume focuses on qualitative research and data, which the author identifies as coming specifically from “three kinds of data collection”: interviews, observation, and document analysis. It is divided into three sections. The first discusses “conceptual issues,” explaining the basics of qualitative research, theory, and applications. In the second section, “designs and data collection,” the author discusses the design of studies as well as fieldwork and interviewing. Finally, the third section addresses “analysis, interpretation, and reporting,” including the best ways to enhance results for presentation purposes. All three sections are generously sprinkled with useful examples, or “exhibits,” and case studies. This resource is detailed and thorough, but its style still manages to be very readable, and at times is even lighthearted and amusing. It would be a welcome guide for serious practitioners or students.

Reviewed by Anna Pilston, March 2006
 

Learning in the FieldRossman, Gretchen B., and Sharon F. Rallis. 2012. Learning in the Field: An Introduction to Qualitative Research. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 392p. ISBN: 9781412980487.

Committee Member Review

Rossman and Rallis have provided a useful book for those who learn better through narrative and concrete examples, rather than abstract discussions. The book is organized around three characters, Anthony, Marla, and Ruth, students in a qualitative research class. Each chapter begins with a conversation between the students as they struggle with major phases of the research process, from developing good, focused research questions to data analysis and writing. Each character represents a different qualitative research approach: descriptive, evaluative, and action research. Within these three approaches, the characters also represent further typological breakdowns, or what the author calls qualitative genres: ethnographies, phenomenological studies, and socio-communication studies. The authors try to organize the book to address broad commonalities across disciplines. The goal is to introduce researchers to “principles of good practice” that can be applied more broadly, rather than mastering a particular data collection technique.

Reviewed by Wendy Holliday, March 2006, revised by David Oberhelman, 2013
 
 

Basics of Qualitative ResearchStrauss, Anselm, and Juliet Corbin. 2007. Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. xiii, 379p. ISBN: 1412906431.

Committee Member Review

Aimed primarily at students and novice researchers across a range of disciplines, the authors intend this work as a “set of useful tools for analyzing qualitative data” (xi), rather than as a “recipe book to be applied to research in a step-by-step fashion” (xi). The grounded theory methodology – originally co-developed by Strauss and having the “ability not only to generate theory but also to ground that theory in data” (8) – is comprehensively explored. Chapters are clustered in three sections that flow through background information on qualitative research and project planning considerations, techniques for analysis, and post-research writing and presentation processes. The 3rd ed. is “significantly revised.” Key features include: a “Critical Issues” section at the end of each chapter for students to develop their critical thinking skills; demonstration of actual steps involved in data analysis (from description to grounded theory) and data gathering by means of theoretical sampling; exercises for thinking, writing and group discussion; and, a student companion website that includes real data and practice with qualitative research software such as MAXQDA and practice exercises.

Reviewed by Merinda McLure, March 2006, Amy Deuink, Jan. 2009, revised by David Oberhelman, 2013
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Introduction to General Research Methods

Research MethodsHammond, Michael, and J. J. Wellington. 2013. Research Methods: The Key Concepts. London, England: Routledge. 179p. ISBN: 9780415599832.

Committee Member Review

Hammond and Wellington aim their book at undergraduate and graduate students undertaking social research for the first time; alternatively, librarians and other professionals will find the book useful. The book comprises an extensive series of key concepts arranged in alphabetical order, among them: action research, grounded theory, surveys, and writing for audiences. Each key concept is defined and contextualized to show what part it can play in a research project. Citations provide the reader examples of classic and contemporary research studies exemplifying each key concept. Hammond and Wellington are careful to inform the beginning researcher regarding limitations of certain research approaches. The convenient dictionary-style format makes it easy for the reader to access information at point-of-need as well as explore unfamiliar concepts.

-Robert Miller, 2013
 
 
 

Methodological ThinkingLoseke, Donileen R. 2013. Methodological Thinking: Basic Principles of Social Research Design. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. 194p. ISBN: 9781412997201.

Committee Member Review

As Loseke states, this book differs from many standard textbooks in that it emphasizes the principles and logic of social research design over technical details. Loseke presents a holistic approach to research design in which students learn the affordances of various methods and the critical thinking skills necessary to choose an appropriate method for a particular research project. The intended audience for the book comprises undergraduate and graduate students, and another of Loseke’s aims is to give students the ability to not only design and produce research, but to critically examine and evaluate published research. The book covers topics such as formulating a research question, conducting a literature review, generating data, and writing and evaluating research reports.

 
-Robert Miller, 2013
 
 
 
 

Basics of Social ResearchBabbie, E. R. 2007. The Basics of Social Research. 4th ed. Australia: Thomson/Wadsworth. 576p. ISBN: 0495094684.

Committee Member Review

This is a recent update to the textbook many librarians used in graduate school. The latest edition contains commentary on contemporary issues in social research in addition to clearly-written and engaging essays on understanding and performing qualitative and quantitative research.

-Caroline Barratt, 2009
 
 
 
 

Foundations for ResearchdeMarrais, Kathleen B., and Stephen D. Lapan. 2004. Foundations for Research: Methods of Inquiry in Education and the Social Sciences. Mahwah, NJ: L. Erlbaum Associates. 432p. ISBN: 0805836500.

Committee Member Review

Foundations for research is a unique work in the area of research literature. The authors provide an array of important social science research possibilities, and practical suggestions for conducting research. What makes the text truly unique is the author’s discussion of the philosophical debates that are inherent to research in the social sciences, and their emphasis on implementing high-quality and trustworthy designs.

In Foundations for research, deMarrais and Lapan distinguish between research methods and methodologies and deliberate at length the relationship between research theory and design. Specific research methods and pedagogical strategies are also provided. Librarians in search of a text that combines practical suggestions with ethical direction can find both in this book.

– Christopher Hollister, 2006
 
 
 
 

Good Research GuideDenscombe, Martyn. 2007. The Good Research Guide for Small-scale Social Research Projects. 3rd ed. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press. 360p. ISBN: 0335220223.

Committee Member Review

This accessible guide covers both philosophical and practical issues regarding social research. The book is designed to help the researcher with limited time choose strategies, collect data, and analyze data.

The book is organized in three parts. Part I, Strategies for Social Research, covers surveys, case studies, internet research, experiments, action research, ethnography, phenomenology, and grounded theory. Part II, Methods of Social Research, covers questionnaires, interviews, observation, and documents. Part III, Analysis, discusses quantitative and qualitative data, and writing up the research. An FAQ section provides a key definitions, and there is an index and extensive list of references.

Throughout, Denscombe emphasizes that there is no single correct research technique and that the researcher needs to know the issues involved to make educated decisions. This book aims to help that process.

An update to this best-selling book includes information on mixed methods and research using the internet, enhancing a useful guide for the first-time researcher.

– Reviewed by Nancy H. Dewald, 2006, and Caroline Barratt, 2009;  revised by Robert Miller, 2013.
 
 
 

Social Research MethodsDooley, David. 2001. Social Research Methods. 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. 385p. ISBN: 0139554289.

Committee Member Review

Dooley’s book is an introductory text for students in the social sciences. His emphasis is on quantitative methods. Only one chapter, “Qualitative Research: Participant Observation,” discusses qualitative methods. Each of the fifteen chapters in the book ends with a summary, related web sites (though some links are dead, there are still useful suggestions), exercises, and key words.

The fourth edition added information on use of the World Wide Web in Appendix A. Obviously, much has happened on the Web since the book was published in 2001, and most librarians would not read this book to access this section. Appendix B, entitled “Statistics Review,” might be more helpful and could serve as a quick review of statistical terms and examples. The book concludes with a glossary, reference list, and name and subject indexes.

– Reviewed by Christen Cardina, 2005; revised by Robert Miller, 2013.
 
 
 
 

designing and conducting researchDrew, Clifford J., Michael L. Hardman, and Ann Weaver Hart. 1996. Designing and Conducting Research: Inquiry in Education and Social Science. 2nd ed. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. 470p. ISBN: 0205166997.

Committee Member Review

For those of us who may lack a “conceptual framework” in research methods, the authors provide an excellent primer. The text has 16 chapters, references, a glossary and both a subject and an author index. The authors begin logically with an introduction to the research process (I only wish a review of the literature had been prominently featured). The authors also cover ethics and professionalism, and the nitty-gritty of design and statistics. This book would be helpful as a textbook if you were teaching students (undergraduate or graduates) about research or for one’s own use at the outset of a research project.

This is not an advanced statistics book that includes all the tables necessary for analysis and that’s just as well: it’s not overwhelming. Designing and conducting research is a great tool for the beginning researcher.

– Reviewed by Alison Armstrong, 2006; revised by Robert Miller, 2013.
 
 
 

Social ResearchGlicken, Morley D. 2002. Social Research: A Simple Guide. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. 282p. ISBN: 0205334288.

Committee Member Review

As a professor of graduate research in social work, the author found that his students had difficulty understanding the research methods texts he assigned. Glicken therefore wrote this guide to be comprehensible to everyone interested in research.

Social Research concisely describes each phase of the research process using real-world examples and humorous vignettes to aid in understanding complex concepts. Starting with a discussion of why research is done in the social sciences, the author then explains how to choose a research problem and walks the reader through the proposal process. Later chapters describe and explain research instruments, qualitative research design and quantitative research design, the literature search, statistical analysis, ethics in research, and writing the report. Written and tested as a textbook, each chapter is followed by review questions and a list of references.

– Reviewed by Polly D. Boruff-Jones, 2006; revised by Robert Miller, 2013
 
 
 

Doing ResearchGray, David E. 2004. Doing Research in the Real World. London, UK: Sage Publications. 422p. ISBN 0761948783.

Committee Member Review

Doing Research in the Real World is a well-written introduction to research methods, whether for people doing research in the workplace, students writing theses and dissertations, or people writing journal articles.

The first three chapters should be read by everyone, and later chapters on specific methods can be read as needed. Chapter one covers the deductive and inductive process. Chapter two summarizes the philosophical underpinnings of the various research methodologies. Chapter three discusses selecting and planning a research project, including helpful tips on types of topics to avoid and writing a research proposal. Succeeding sections of the book cover research methods, data collection tools, analysis, report writing, and action research. Ethical issues are mentioned throughout the text.

Throughout the book brief case studies and activities are set apart in boxes. The case studies bring theories and definitions to life, while the activities help the reader reflect on his or her own research.

– Reviewed by Nancy H. Dewald, 2006; revised by Robert Miller, 2013
 
 
 
 

Foundations of Behavioral ResearchKerlinger, Frank Nichols and Howard B. Lee. 1999. Foundations of Behavioral Research. 4th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. xxv, 890p. ISBN: 0155078976.

Committee Member Review

This text examines the fundamentals of solving a scientific research problem, focusing on the relationship between the problem and the research design. This edition includes information about computer statistical software, multivariate statistics, research ethics, and writing research reports in APA style. This book is ideal for graduate students in that it covers statistics, research methodology, and measurement all in one volume. This is a book that graduate students will keep as a reference throughout their careers.

There are very few books written that cover as many important topics in behavioral research methods as this one. This is a must have book for anyone planning to do statistical analysis, not only in psychology but in the social sciences as well. Earlier editions were outstanding and the fourth edition is exceptional. The new material in the 4th Edition is helpful to today’s researcher. The examples are extremely useful in facilitating the understanding of research methods and the analysis of data.

– Reviewed by Mark Spasser, 2005; revised by Robert Miller, 2013
 
 
 
 

handbook of research designMiller, Delbert C., and Neil J. Salkind. 2002. Handbook of Research Design and Social Measurement. 6th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. xxii, 786p. ISBN: 0761920463.

Committee Member Review

The 6th edition of the authors’ “reference handbook” addresses all areas of social science research. It would make an excellent text for any overview course in this area. Comprehensive in scope, it addresses most of the aspects of understanding behavioral or organizational research, applied and evaluation research, and qualitative research. It also deals with issues such as study design, data collection, research resources, and analysis. Particularly useful are the sections regarding such fundamental issues as research proposals and ethics.

Each section includes many examples and an extensive list of resources. This volume may not be practical for the casual reader or practitioner in a hurry; it is so broad in scope that it would be most useful for someone with a serious academic interest in social sciences research.

– Anna Pilston, 2006
 
 

social research methodsNeuman, W. Lawrence. 2006. Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. 6th ed. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. 592p. ISBN: 0205457932.

Committee Member Review

Neuman presents an updated edition of his popular textbook, Social research methods. This book is really meant for use in an undergraduate or beginning graduate class. It introduces readers to social research generally, including discussions of theory and basic methodologies. The remainder of the book has basic information on developing research questions, a literature review, and quantitative and qualitative research designs and methods. The book provides definitions and some excellent examples throughout, especially of good research questions and an example of effective literature reviews.

The book would be useful to librarians who want a very general introduction to the broad sweep of social science research. Consulting the chapters on literature reviews and measurement, for example, might be useful at the beginning of a research project. The book does read like a textbook, however, and is less effective in its entirety. For more detailed and practical treatments of various qualitative and quantitative research methods, books focused on those areas alone are likely more useful.

– Wendy Holliday, 2006
 
 
 
 

SAGE handbook of social science methodologyOuthwaite, William, and Stephen P. Turner. 2007. The SAGE Handbook of Social Science Methodology. Los Angeles (Calif.); London: SAGE. 640p. ISBN: 1412901197.

Committee Member Review

A thorough guide to the history, issues, and debates regarding social research and its methodologies, written by experts in the field. Though not a how-to handbook, this collection of essays may be useful to the researcher who seeks to understand the philosophies behind certain modes of inquiry.

-Caroline Barratt, 2009
 
 
 
 

understanding research methodsPatten, Mildred L. 2004. Understanding Research Methods: An Overview of the Essentials. 4th ed. Glendale, CA: Pyrczak Publishing. 170p. ISBN 1884585523.

Committee Member Review

(This review is of the 4th edition) The strongest feature of Understanding Research Methods is its explanation of research methods. Each topic  is explained in two pages, and each topic ends in a three part exercise. The topics are organized under seven categories: introduction to research methods, reviewing literature, sampling, measurement, experimental design, understanding statistics, and effect size and meta-analysis.

There are seven Appendices. The best amplify the regular text on the topics of standard deviation, effect size, and determining reliability. A “table of random numbers,” a “table of recommended sample sizes for populations with finite sizes,” and an index complete the book. There are no references to other sources. This book would be helpful to any researcher trying to determine what type of method(s) to use, as well as how to ensure the quality of one’s research.

– Reviewed by Nancy H. Dewald, 2006; revised by Robert Miller, 2013
 
 
 

Basic research methods in social scienceSimon, Julian Lincoln. 2003. Basic Research Methods in Social Science: The Art of Empirical Investigation. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. [Reprint of previous 2nd edition, 1978, entitled Basic research methods in social sciences: The art of empirical investigation.] 558p. ISBN:0765805308.

Committee Member Review

This textbook is a reprint of the second edition, published in 1978, with a new introduction by James E. Katz. Katz praises the author’s conversational style as well as his emphasis on applied examples to help new social scientists not only conduct, but understand, research. The book has five parts: “The process of social-science research,” which gives basic descriptions of statistical terms and types of empirical research; “Research decisions and procedures,” the bulk of the book, covers the steps in the research process from advice on finding an appropriate research problem (very helpful), to designing experiments, collecting, analyzing, and writing up the data. Part three is entitled “The obstacles to social-science knowledge and ways to overcome them,” followed by “Extracting the meaning of data,” which explains relationships among variables, probability and hypothesis testing. The Epilogue, Bibliography and Index complete the book. Chapters include exercises, “additional reading,” tables, graphs, and even cartoons. This book is highly recommended for its thoroughness, clarity, and applicability to library research.

– Reviewed by Christen Cardina, 2005; revised by Robert Miller, 2013
 
 
 

doing social science researchYates, Simeon J. 2004. Doing Social Science Research. London, UK: Sage Publications: Open University. 293p. ISBN 0761967974.

Committee Member Review

Yates begins by explaining that this book was developed with the book Social Science in Question by Mark J. Smith.  However, it is not necessary to read both books to benefit from Yates’ text. Following an introduction, Part II discusses quantitative research methods, including survey research, experimental research, and the numerical data analysis used for both of these methods.

Part III, qualitative research methods, discusses interviewing (in-depth interviews, focus group interviews, and ethnographic fieldwork), analyzing qualitative data, and discourse analysis. The book ends with a brief chapter on selecting and evaluating methods of research, plus references and an index. Yates has included extended readings from other sources. Yates also uses Self Assessment Questions (SAQs) throughout the text to help the reader absorb the material. Although there are no library or information science examples, this is a helpful textbook for researchers who are relatively new to social science methodology.

– Reviewed by Nancy H. Dewald, 2006; revised by Robert Miller, 2013

 

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