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Introduction to Research Methods

With clear, engaging, and humorous prose, Introduction to Research Methods: A Hands-on Approach offers readers an applied introduction to the exciting world of social science research. Using real, annotated research examples, the text invites readers to see research as a dynamic conversation on timely topics that are relevant to their lives.


Robust pedagogy, practical tips, and FREE instructor and student online resources provide extensive support for a successful hands-on experience with research.

Chapter 1 • The Purpose of Research
Chapter Outline

Scientific Research and Its Purpose

Theories of Knowledge

A Quick Look at Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods

Ethical Research


Key Terms

Taking a Step Further

Chapter 2 • Formulating a Research Question
Chapter Outline

Choosing a Research Topic

Operationalization of Constructs

Types of Variables

Types of Hypotheses

Visualizing a Research Question


Key Terms

Taking a Step Further

Chapter 3 • Researching and Writing the Literature Review
Chapter Outline

Defining a Literature Review

Exploring the Literature

Understanding and Organizing the Literature

Thinking Critically


Systematic Reviews of Literature


Key Terms

Taking a Step Further

Chapter 4 • Quantitative Designs
Chapter Outline

Categorizations of Research Studies

Cross-Sectional Versus Longitudinal Studies

Causality in Research

Experimental Designs


Key Terms

Taking a Step Further

Chapter 5 • Measurement Errors, Reliability, Validity
Chapter Outline

Measurement Errors




Key Terms

Taking a Step Further

Chapter 6 • Sampling
Chapter Outline

Defining Sampling

Probability and Non-Probability Sampling

Types of Non-Probability Sampling

Types of Probability Sampling


Key Terms

Taking a Step Further

Chapter 7 • Data Collection for Quantitative Research
Chapter Outline

Experimental Research

Quasi-Experimental Research

Preparing and Collecting Data Through Questionnaires

Methods of Data Collection


Key Terms

Taking a Step Further

Chapter 8 • Secondary Data
Chapter Outline

Benefits of Using Secondary Data

Major Sources of Secondary Data

Disadvantages of Secondary Data


Key Terms

Taking a Step Further

Chapter 9 • Entering and Organizing Quantitative Data
Chapter Outline

The Purpose of Entering and Organizing Quantitative Data

Preparing for Data Entry

Organizing and Inputting Variables


Key Terms

Taking a Step Further

Chapter 10 • Analyzing Quantitative Data
Chapter Outline

Analyzing Quantitative Data

Univariate Analysis

Graphical Representation of Data

Measures of Central Tendency

Bivariate Analysis


Key Terms

Taking a Step Further

Chapter 11 • Qualitative Designs and Data Collection: Understanding What Behavior Means in Context
Chapter Outline

An Introduction to Qualitative Research Designs

Ways of Collecting Qualitative Data

Unobtrusive Methods and Additional Sources of Qualitative Data

Mixed Methods


Key Terms

Taking a Step Further

About the Chapter Contributor

Chapter 12 • Entering, Coding, and Analyzing Qualitative Data
Chapter Outline

Enter, Clean, and Organize Qualitative Data

Coding Qualitative Data

Analyzing Qualitative Data


Key Terms

Taking a Step Further

Chapter 13 • Results and Discussion
Chapter Outline

Reporting Results

Results in Quantitative Studies

Results in Qualitative Studies

Visually Presenting Results




Key Term

Taking a Step Further

Chapter 14 • Presenting Your Research
Chapter Outline

Presenting Your Findings to an Audience

Applying to Conferences

Publishing an Article


Taking a Step Further
Name Index
Subject Index
About the Author


Instructor Teaching Site

SAGE edge for Instructors, supports your teaching by making it easy to integrate quality content and create a rich learning environment for students.

  • Test banks provide a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for your course.
  • Lively and stimulating ideas for class activities that can be used in class to reinforce active learning. The activities apply to individual or group projects.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter
  • Multimedia content includes video and web links that appeal to students with different learning styles.
Student Resource Site

SAGE edge for Students provides a personalized approach to help students accomplish their coursework goals in an easy-to-use learning environment.

  • Mobile-friendly eFlashcards strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts
  • Mobile-friendly practice quizzes allow for independent assessment by students of their mastery of course material
  • A  customized online action plan includes tips and feedback on progress through the course and materials, which allows students to individualize their learning experience
  • Learning objectives reinforce the most important material
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter
  • Multimedia content includes video and web links that appeal to students with different learning styles.

Anyone who teaches or has ever taught research methods will appreciate Bora Pajo's personal insight and motivation to cultivate an application-based textbook that corresponds to the active nature of the curriculum itself. 

Emile Beltzer
Henderson State University

Provides more detailed discussion of "why" each part of the research process is important toward achieving the overall goal.


Maurice Sheppard
Madison Area Technical College

The conversational style and relatable examples will help students to overcome inhibitions to learning methods in social science research.


Marybeth Beller
Marshall University

The application-based approach will be a welcome change for students. 


Billy McKim
Texas A&M University

I really appreciate the addition of the "Ethics in Research" chapter and ethical considerations in almost every chapter.

Ekaterina Forrester Smith
University of California-Riverside

For too long research methods textbooks have focused on techniques devoid of real experience. Bora Pajo's book is taking research methods preparation in the right direction and I think a generation of social science researchers will be better for it.

Rob Shelby
University of Evansville

Pajo's book will give students the connection between the course concepts and real world application.

Debasmita Patra
University of Maryland

The step-by-step approach the author takes with this text may just be tool I need to assist my students in taking an interest in research even beyond this course.

Elizabeth Guzman-Arredondo
Calumet College of St. Joseph

This an accessible, well-organized text geared towards underclass students.  It demystifies the research process and makes it seem engaging, rewarding and fun.

Carolyn Keller
Keene State College

This text seems to integrate the larger "so what" question, which I am currently doing through a patchwork of articles and real-life examples. Having all of this material (scientific method, research questions, data collection, descriptive stats, qualitative approaches, etc) all in on one place, this book is a major improvement on what I am now using.

H. Howell Williams
Western Connecticut State University
Key features


  • A conversational and jargon-free writing style brings the relevance of research to life.
  • Research in Action features illustrate real, annotated research examples, giving students the skills to read and interpret research they may encounter in their everyday lives.
  • Research Workshop features offer step-by-step help on practical topics that extend beyond the chapter to provide hands-on tips for students conducting their own research.
  • Ethical considerations within each chapter address different aspects of research to emphasize ethics as an integral part of the research conversation.
  • Chapter pedagogy includes summaries, key terms, photos, and “Taking It a Step Further” questions to extend understanding and application of text concepts.

For instructors

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