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Introduction to Research Methods

Introduction to Research Methods
A Hands-On Approach

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August 2017 | 392 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

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.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1: The Purpose of Research

Chapter 14: Presenting Your Research

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