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Introduction to Educational Research

Introduction to Educational Research

Second Edition
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February 2018 | 344 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
The Second Edition of Introduction to Educational Research expertly guides readers through the steps of the research methods process to help them plan and compose their first educational research project. With a conversational writing style, author Craig A. Mertler covers all aspects of the research process and addresses a wide range of research methodologies, including: Quantitative, Qualitative, Mixed-Methods, and Action Research. No prior familiarity with the principles, procedures, or terminology of educational research is required, allowing novice students to clearly understand research concepts and learn to effectively apply them in their own studies.
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About the Author
Chapter 1. What Is Educational Research?
Finding Answers to Questions  
The Scientific Method  
Educational Research—What It Is and What It Is Not  
Educational Research as a Process  
Knowing Your Specific Discipline  
Educators as Researchers  
Chapter 2. Overview of the Educational Research Process
Identifying and Limiting a Research Topic or Problem  
Formally Stating and Refining Research Question(s)  
Reviewing Existing Literature Related to the Problem  
Writing a Literature Review  
Developing a Research Plan  
Implementing the Research Plan and Collecting Data  
Analyzing the Data  
Stating Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendations in a Written Research Report  
The Educational Research Process—A Brief Example  
Chapter 3. Identifying a Research Problem
Identifying a Research Topic or Problem  
Necessary Terminology Related to Research  
Research Questions and Hypotheses  
Chapter 4. Ethics in Educational Research
Ethical Considerations in the Conduct of Research  
Ethics in Qualitative Versus Quantitative Studies  
Institutional Review Boards  
Formal Preparation for Research with Human Participants  
Chapter 5. Reviewing Related Research Literature
What Is a Literature Review?  
Sources for Literature Related to Your Research Topic  
Searching the ERIC Online Database  
Searching the Google Scholar Online Database  
Writing Your Literature Review  
Not Just for Conducting Research—Valuable Sources for Professional Development  
Chapter 6. Qualitative Research Methods
Characteristics of Qualitative Research  
The Qualitative Research Process  
Approaches to Conducting Qualitative Research  
More About Ethnographic Research  
More About Narrative Research  
Chapter 7. Quantitative Research Methods
Characteristics of Quantitative Research  
The Quantitative Research Process  
Nonexperimental Research Designs  
Experimental Research Designs  
Threats to Validity in Quantitative Designs  
Chapter 8. Mixed-Methods Research
Characteristics of Mixed-Methods Research  
The Mixed-Methods Research Process  
Approaches to Conducting Mixed-Methods Research  
Validity in Mixed-Methods Research  
Strengths and Limitations of Mixed-Methods Research  
Chapter 9. Action Research
Characteristics of Action Research  
The Action Research Process  
Action Planning and Reflection  
Validity in Action Research  
Strengths and Limitations of Action Research  
Chapter 10. Writing a Research Proposal
Purpose of a Research Proposal  
General Aspects of a Research Proposal  
Components of a Quantitative Research Proposal  
Components of a Qualitative Research Proposal  
Proposals for Action Research and Mixed-Methods Studies  
Chapter 11. Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis
Sampling Techniques in Qualitative Research  
Qualitative Data Collection Techniques  
Characteristics of Qualitative Data: Accuracy, Credibility, and Dependability  
Qualitative Data Analysis Techniques  
Chapter 12. Quantitative Data Collection
Sampling Techniques in Quantitative Research  
Scales of Measurement  
Quantitative Data Collection Techniques  
Characteristics of Quantitative Data: Validity and Reliability  
Chapter 13. Quantitative Data Analysis
Quantitative Data Analysis Techniques  
Chapter 14. Writing a Final Research Report
Importance of the Audience  
General Guidelines for Writing a Research Report  
Practical Guidelines for Writing  
An Example of a Research Report  
Appendix: Teachers’ Perceptions of the Influence of No Child Left Behind on Classroom Practices


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  • 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.
  • Chapter summaries and 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 is included.
  • Multimedia content includes videos that appeal to diverse learners.
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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.
  • Sample course syllabi for semester and quarter courses provide suggested models for structuring your courses.
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for your course.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter is included.
  • Multimedia content includes videos that appeal to diverse learners.
  • Lecture notes summarize key concepts by chapter to help you prepare for lectures and class discussions.

“Comprehensive introductory text to educational research that provides students with practical and thorough information on how to be research producers and consumers.”

Maryann Dudzinski
Valparaiso University

“A well-written, student focused introduction to education research text that is a great primer for helping students get ready to run their first study.”

Samuel Sennott
Portland State University

“Craig A. Mertler gives educators a practical look into the sometimes overwhelming practice of research. He constructs each chapter using an easy to understand tone, as well as offering reflective activities to provide deeper meaning and reflection on one’s own practice.”

Kimberly Silbaugh, Ph.D.
Western Colorado State University and Lesley University

“Mertler synthesizes a wealth of research methodology in one, eminently usable textbook. Designed for the beginning educational researcher, he covers all aspects of the research process and addresses a wide range of research methodologies: Quantitative, Qualitative, Mixed-Methods, and Action Research. Written with as little jargon as possible, he dots each chapter with figures and tables that expand and extend the written text. From preparing to conduct a study through sampling, data collection and analysis, and interpretation, Mertler succinctly covers many aspects of the research process. His well-written study at the end of the book serves as a model for much of the material covered in previous chapters. This textbook will become a staple for beginning educational research courses for many years to come!”

Patricia A. St John, EdD, ATR-BC, LCAT
The College of New Rochelle
Key features


  • Additional online resources for locating related research literature—including EBSCO, JSTOR, PsycINFO, SAGE Journals, and Sociological Abstracts—help facilitate student research.
  • Greater detail regarding APA Style, such as new sections on “bias-free writing” and “plagiarism and self-plagiarism,” better prepare students to correctly write-up their results.
  • New examples of qualitative analysis (including screenshots) using Dedoose demonstrates tech-supported analysis of qualitative data. 
  • New discussions address the role and value of replication studies and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
  • A new section on research proposals for action research and mixed-methods studies provides additional clarification for designing proposals for mixed-methods or action research studies.


  • Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) provide a preview for each chapter, list the 4 to 8 major targeted learning objectives for that chapter, and are ideal for review.
  • Chapter-ending Developmental Activities provide opportunities for students to apply concepts and skills and can be used as course assignments or for in-class activities and discussions. 
  • Thorough Chapter Summaries listed in bullet-point format provide focused reviews of chapter content.
  • A complete research report in the appendix offers an opportunity to engage in a critique of a published article and to see the format and writing style appropriate for academic journals.
  • A glossary of more than 350 terms—highlighted in boldface when first introduced in the text—offers access to one of the most comprehensive glossaries presented in any educational research textbook.

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