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Research Design

Research Design
Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches

Fifth Edition
Additional resources:

December 2017 | 304 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

This best-selling text pioneered the comparison of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research design. For all three approaches, John W. Creswell and new co-author J. David Creswell include a preliminary consideration of philosophical assumptions, key elements of the research process, a review of the literature, an assessment of the use of theory in research applications, and reflections about the importance of writing and ethics in scholarly inquiry. 

The Fifth Edition includes more coverage of: epistemological and ontological positioning in relation to the research question and chosen methodology; case study, PAR, visual and online methods in qualitative research; qualitative and quantitative data analysis software; and in quantitative methods more on power analysis to determine sample size, and more coverage of experimental and survey designs; and updated with the latest thinking and research in mixed methods.

SHARE this Comparison of Research Approaches poster with your students to help them navigate the distinction between the three approaches to research.

Analytic Contents of Research Techniques
Outline of Chapters  
Companion Website
About the Authors
Chapter 1 The Selection of a Research Approach
The Three Approaches to Research  
Three Components Involved in an Approach  
Research Approaches as Worldviews, Designs, and Methods  
Criteria for Selecting a Research Approach  
Additional Readings  
Chapter 2 Review of the Literature
The Research Topic  
The Literature Review  
Additional Readings  
Chapter 3 The Use of Theory
Quantitative Theory Use  
Qualitative Theory Use  
Mixed Methods Theory Use  
Additional Readings  
Chapter 4 Writing Strategies and Ethical Consideration
Writing the Proposal  
Writing Ideas  
Ethical Issues to Anticipate  
Additional Readings  
Chapter 5 The Introduction
The Importance of Introductions  
An Abstract for a Study  
Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Introductions  
A Model for an Introduction  
Additional Readings  
Chapter 6 The Purpose Statement
Significance and Meaning of a Purpose Statement  
Additional Readings  
Chapter 7 Research Questions and Hypotheses
Qualitative Research Question  
Quantitative Research Questions and Hypotheses  
Mixed Methods Research Questions and Hypotheses  
Additional Readings  
Chapter 8 Quantitative Methods
Defining Surveys and Experiments  
Components of a Survey Study Method Plan  
Components of an Experimental Study Method Plan  
Additional Readings  
Chapter 9 Qualitative Methods
The Characteristics of Qualitative Research  
Qualitative Designs  
The Researcher’s Role and Ref  
Data Collection Procedures  
Data Recording Procedures  
Data Analysis Procedures  
Validity and Reliability  
Writing the Qualitative Report  
Additional Readings  
Chapter 10 Mixed Methods Procedures
Components of Mixed Methods Procedures  
Types of Mixed Methods Designs  
A Procedure for Embedding Core Designs Into Complex Designs  
Factors Important in Choosing a Mixed Methods Design  
Examples of Mixed Methods Procedures  
Additional Readings  
Author Index
Subject Index


Student Study 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 practice quizzes allow for independent assessment by students of their mastery of course material.
  • Premium video content curated from the SAGE Research Methods platform, including videos by John W. Creswell.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter, plus accompanying exercises and application questions.
  • Sample research proposals and templates offer further guidance on research design.
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.

  • Premium video content curated from the SAGE Research Methods platform, including videos by John W. Creswell, accompanied by assessment questions.
  • A diverse range of pre-written, editable test questions to help 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, plus accompanying exercises and application questions.
  • Lecture notes highlight key concepts by chapter to help you prepare for lectures and class discussions.
  • Chapter-specific writing exercises emphasize critical thinking and application of key concepts.
  • Discussion questions launch classroom interaction and encourage students to engage further with the material.
  • All figures and tables from the book available for download and use in your course.

“This text is incredibly helpful and among the books I use most frequently in my teaching and my own writing.”

Andrew Ryder
University of North Carolina, Wilmington

Content, excellent instructor resources

Dr Julie Pynn
Psychology Dept, Southern Utah University
August 12, 2019

One of the best books on research that uses templates and uncomplicated terminology that resonates with students.
Thank you

Professor Kimberley Garth-James
Business Administration Dept, Notre Dame De Namur University
May 17, 2017
Key features


  • Updated discussion on designing a proposal for a research project and on the steps in designing a research study.  
  • Additional content on epistemological and ontological positioning in relation to the research question and chosen methodology and method. 
  • Additional updates on the transformative worldview. 
  • Expanded coverage on specific approaches such as case studies, participatory action research, and visual methods. 
  • Additional information about social media, online qualitative methods, and mentoring and reflexivity in qualitative methods. 
  • Incorporation of action research and program evaluation in mixed methods and coverage of the latest advances in the mixed methods field
  • Additional coverage on qualitative and quantitative data analysis software in the respective methods chapters. 
  • Additional information about causality and its relationship to statistics in quantitative methods. 
  • Incorporation of writing discussion sections into each of the three methodologies. 
  • Current references and additional readings are included in this new edition.



  • Compares qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research in one book for full, unparalleled coverage.
  • Highly interdisciplinary examples make this book widely appealing to a broad range of courses and disciplines.
  • Ethical coverage throughout consistently reminds students to use good judgment and to be fair and unbiased in their research.
  • Writing exercises conclude each chapter so that readers can practice the principles learned in the chapter; if the reader completes all of the exercises, they will have a written plan for their scholarly study.
  • Numbered points provide checklists of each step in a process.
  • Annotated passages help reinforce the reader's comprehension of key research ideas.

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