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Methods of Research on Human Development and Families

Methods of Research on Human Development and Families

July 2019 | 248 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Methods of Research on Human Development and Families is an introduction to quantitative and qualitative research methods that teaches students how to be intelligent and critical consumers of research on families. This new book has been adapted from the author team’s previous SAGE text, Methods of Family Research, and includes applications and examples from both family science and human development research. With a focus on interpreting and understanding research techniques rather than doing research, this text illustrates how research on families is conducted and helps students gain the competence and confidence to effectively read, interpret, and critique published research reports.

The Goal of This Text

To the Student

To the Instructor

Organization of This Text

About the Authors
Chapter 1 Why Do Research on Families and Children?
What Are the Stages of Social Research?

How Is Research on Families and Children Different?

The Benefits of Well-Conducted Research

Study Questions

Chapter 2 The Ethics of Research on Families and Children
The Rights of Participants in Research on Families and Children

What Is the Role of the Institutional Review Board?

Fraud in Research on Families and Children

The Value of Ethically Sound Research

Study Questions

Chapter 3 Causal Inference in Research on Families and Children

Units of Analysis

Thinking Causally

Framing the Hypothesis

Causal Inference in Qualitative Research

Study Questions

Chapter 4 Searching and Reading the Literature
Reading a Journal Article

Where Do I Go From Here?

How Do Journal Articles Get Published?

Research Monographs

Edited Volumes

Other Types of Publications

Study Questions

Chapter 5 Sampling Issues
Defining the Population

Sampling Designs

How Large Does the Sample Need to Be?

How Do We Go About Choosing a Sampling Technique?

Study Questions

Chapter 6 How Do We Measure Concepts?
Characteristics of a Good Measurement Procedure

Levels of Measurement

What Are Reliability and Validity?

Some Thoughts on Reliability and Validity

Study Questions

Chapter 7 Working With Scales and Indices
Types of Scales and Indices

Using Existing Scales and Indices

How Do We Evaluate Scales and Indices?

How Do We Deal With Missing Data in Scales and Indices?

Study Questions

Chapter 8 Studying Families: Methods for Quantitative Data
Studying Families Through Experiments

Studying Families Through Survey Methods

Studying Families and Children Through Nonreactive Techniques

Types of Nonreactive Research

“Big Data” in the Study of Families and Children

Secondary Analysis of Sample Surveys

Ethics and Quantitative Methods

Some Limitations of Quantitative Methods

Study Questions

Chapter 9 Studying Families: Methods for Qualitative Data
Qualitative Research Compared to Quantitative Research

Types of Qualitative Strategies

Studying Families Through Observation

Ethics and Qualitative Research

Evaluating Qualitative Research

Study Questions

Chapter 10 Studying Families: Mixed Methods
Mixed-Method Approaches to Family Research

Mixed-Model Studies in Family Research

Some Closing Thoughts on Choosing a Research Strategy

Study Questions

Chapter 11 Using Other People’s Data
Advantages and Disadvantages of Secondary Analysis

Data on Children

Data on Adolescents

Data on Older Adults

Data on Families and Households

Sources of Secondary Data Sets

Future Trends in Secondary Data Analysis

Study Questions

Chapter 12 Analyzing Data on Families and Children
Descriptive Statistics

Interpreting Cross-Classification Tables

Inferential Statistics

Commonly Reported Tests of Statistical Significance

Some Thoughts About Statistical Analysis

Study Questions

Chapter 13 Advanced Topics in Family Data Analysis
The Idea of Nested Entities

Analyzing Nested Data

Individual Change Over Time

Final Thoughts on Nested Entities

Study Questions

Chapter 14 Evaluating Programs in Human Development and Family Science
Needs and Social Impact Assessment: What Is the Problem?

Outcome Assessment: Does It Work?

Process Research: How Does It Work?

Some Thoughts About Randomization in Evaluation Research

The Relationship Between Applied and Basic Research

Study Questions

Chapter 15 Politics of Research on Families and Children
Political Concerns in Research on Families and Children

Some Closing Thoughts



Instructor Site

Password-protected Instructor Resources include the following:

  • Test banks that provide a diverse range of ready-to-use options that save you time. You can also easily edit any question and/or insert your own personalized questions.
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides that offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for your course.
Key features


  • Adapted from the author team’s previous SAGE text, Methods of Family Research, this new book includes applications and examples from both family science and human development.
  • The text is written with a student-friendly, conversational narrative that allows students to grasp and understand the often daunting concepts of the research process.
  • Three fundamental aspects of pedagogy introduce students to the world of research and include:
    • a helpful glossary that also serves as an index;
    • supportive suggested readings that build on discussed content; and
    • carefully curated exercises designed to enhance students’ skills.
  • The authors guide readers through six steps of the research process: exploration, description, explanation, prediction, interventions, and evaluation.


Sage College Publishing

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