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Reading and Understanding Research

Reading and Understanding Research

Third Edition

July 2009 | 312 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Ideal for students, novice researchers, or professionals, this indispensable resource serves as a road map for readers who need to analyze and apply research findings. It helps them think critically about the credibility of what they are reading by showing them how to identify problems and develop constructive questions.

Key Features

  • Assumes no prior knowledge of research procedures
  • Provides readers with a step-by-step format for decoding the complex language and formats used in reports and reviews
  • Includes the most common formats for both quantitative and qualitative inquiry
  • Offers both illustrative examples and powerful training exercises
  • Gives specific attention to strategies for critically appraising reported research
  • Presents completely updated references as well as an annotated bibliography

Intended Audience

This text is appropriate for both upper-level undergraduate and graduate students across the social sciences enrolled in introductory research courses as well as students in professional preparation programs.

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Part I: The Nature and Uses of Research Reports
Chapter 1: The Research Report
Chapter 2: When to Believe What You Read: The Sources of Credibility
Chapter 3: How to Select and Read Research Reports
Chapter 4: The Use, Misuse, and Misunderstanding of Research
Chapter 5: Types of Research: An Overview of Variety
Part II: Quantitative Research
Chapter 6: Quantitative Research Designs
Chapter 7: Staying Organized When Reading a Quantitative Report
Chapter 8: Explaining as a Tool for Learning to Read Reports
Chapter 9: Reading Reports of Quantitative Research-Critically: Things to Notice and Questions to Ask
Part III: Qualitative Research
Chapter 10: The Paradigms for Qualitative Research
Chapter 11: Staying Organized When Reading a Qualitative Report
Chapter 12: Reading Reports of Qualitative Research-Critically: Things the Reader Should Expect
Part IV: Reading Research Reviews
Chapter 13: Staying Organized When Reading Research Reviews
Appendix A: Annotated Bibliography of Supplementary References
Appendix B: Statistics: A Beginner's Guide
Name Index
Subject Index
About the Authors

I have made this book a recommended text for introduction to research course for undergraduates. It gives clear outline of how to read research papers, and it is extremely comprehensive. I made it recommended instead of required because some students may find it out of their reach. If the course were geared to honors-level undergraduates, I would have made it required, but these are ordinary undergraduates who are only taking the course because it is required.

Professor Janet Rosenbaum
Behavioral and Community Health, University of Maryland
April 11, 2011

Clear language and easy for undergraduates to understand.

Dr Jody Langdon
Health and Kinesiology, Georgia Southern University
February 17, 2011

For the first doctoral class, this text is excellent as it helps students understand how to review journal articles - a skill that is critical for success in graduate studies. The class is the very first doctoral class, and the first research methods class, thus the skills of reading, analyzing and synthesizing literature are paramount to their ability to write good research-based papers.

Dr Faith Ngunjiri
Campolo College of Graduate and Professional Studies, Eastern University
December 20, 2010

accessible, flexible, clear writing, well suited for the specific application in our introductory graduate course

Michael Tew
Communications Dept, Eastern Michigan University
December 7, 2010

Liked the changes from the 2nd edition. Students in the course found the text useful and keep it as a reference.

Joy Jacobs-Lawson
Gerontology, University of Kentucky
September 28, 2010

This will be a great text for students beginning graduate school. It will be helpful to them as they write papers and read research papers for class discussion.

Professor Joy Gayles
Adult Community Coll Ed Dept, North Carolina State University
July 29, 2010

The authors give concrete advice for a beginner who is reading research reports. In addition to that, the authors use a very clear writing style to convey major concepts. The "Graphic Tools" section in Chapter 3 provides a practical exercise for students to visualize the components of a research project, which makes a perfect assignment for students in the early stages of a research course!

Dr Susan Feather-Gannon
Information Technology, Pace University - Westchester
April 25, 2010

Clear and easy to read with great information and examples

Dr Linda Martinez
Professional Studies Dept, California State University - Long Beach
April 23, 2010

Provides a thorough overview of reading and understanding research--appropriate for our beginning level reserach class.

Dr Cathy Smilan
Art Education Dept, University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth
December 5, 2009
Key features
  • A comprehensive guide that leads readers through the research process, discussing what types of sources exist, what to look for in each one, levels of credibility, and how to stay organized during the process.
  • Complete coverage of the types of research that exist.
  • Four fully-updated appendices that offer a bibliography of references for the reader's "next steps," detailed examples (with flowcharts) of completed twelve-step forms, a list of questions to ask when critically evaluating a report, and a brief overview of statistics.

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