Research Methods for the Behavioral and Social Sciences

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thumbnail image: Research Methods for the Behavioral and Social Sciences
  • Published: 09 February 2010
  • ISBN: 978-0-470-45803-7
  • Author(s): Bart L. Weathington, Christopher J. L. Cunningham, David J. Pittenger
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A comprehensive introduction to research methods and best practices for designing,conducting, interpreting, and reporting findings

This text is designed to develop in students a passion for conducting research and an understanding of the practical value of systematic information- gathering and decision-making. It features step-by-step coverage of the research process including research design, statistical considerations, and guidance on writing up and presenting results.

Recognized leaders in the field—authors Bart Weathington, Christopher Cunningham, and David Pittenger—present:

  • Introductions to multiple research designs—including single-participant, multi-group, longitudinal, correlational, and experimental designs—accompanied by examples

  • Bibliographic research and methods for appropriate sampling

  • Identifying, developing, and evaluating reliable and valid approaches to measurement

  • The issues and steps common to all single-factor and multifactor studies, as well as single-subject and nonexperimental methods

  • How to summarize research in writing that conforms to the editorial guidelines of the American Psychological Association

A comprehensive review of research methods and the statistical concepts that support them, Research Methods for the Behavioral and Social Sciences offers the best techniques for studying behavior and social phenomena.

Preface xv

Acknowledgments xix

Part I Overview of the Research Process 1

Chapter 1 Research and the Social Sciences 3

Introduction 3

Why Is Understanding Research Methods So Important? 6

The Role of Science in Everyday Life 6

The Scientific Method 8

Brief History of the Science of Behavior 8

Bacon’s Legacy 13

Other Important Historical Figures 13

Assumptions of Science 16

Requirements for Scientific Research 17

Research in Action: The Case of Facilitated Communication 23

Chapter Summary 26

Chapter Glossary for Review 29

Chapter References 30

Chapter 2 Ethics and Research 32

Introduction 32

What Is Ethics? 34

Approaches to Ethical Analysis 36

Making Ethical Decisions 41

The Ethical Code of the American Psychological Association 42

Seeking Approval for Research: The Institutional Review Board 44

Milgram’s Experiment Revisited 52

Research with Animals 56

Research in Action: Ethical Dilemmas 58

Chapter Summary 62

Chapter Glossary for Review 64

Chapter References 64

Chapter 3 The Foundations of Research 66

Introduction 66

The Hypothesis in Research 67

Types of Hypotheses 72

Measurement 78

Reliability of Measurement 84

Validity of Measurement 87

Populations and Samples 90

Research in Action: Measuring Sexism 94

Chapter Summary 96

Chapter Glossary for Review 97

Chapter References 100

Chapter 4 An Overview of Empirical Methods 101

Introduction 101

Internal, Statistical Conclusion, and External Validity 102

Survey of Empirical Methods 113

Intact Groups Designs and Quasi-Experimental Studies 117

Surveys 120

Correlational Studies 121

Single-Participant Research Methods 122

Meta-Analysis 124

Computers and Statistics 126

Research in Action: Effectiveness of Psychotherapy 128

Chapter Summary 133

Chapter Glossary for Review 135

Chapter References 137

Part II Nuts and Bolts of Research 139

Chapter 5 Writing the Research Report 141

Introduction 141

What Do Readers Appreciate in Good Writing? 143

Elements of APA Style 143

Special Grammatical Issues 147

Academic Integrity 152

Parts of the Research Report 156

Proofreading 173

Chapter Summary 174

Chapter References 174

Chapter 6 Reviewing the Literature and Forming Hypotheses 175

Introduction 175

Bibliographic Research 175

The Internet 179

Developing a Search Strategy 181

Searching the Literature: The Library 182

Research in Action: Does Listening to Mozart Make You Smarter? 186

Statistical Inference and Testing Hypotheses 190

Chapter Summary 193

Chapter Glossary for Review 194

Chapter References 194

Chapter 7 Sampling: The First Steps in Research 196

Introduction 196

The Nature of Samples 197

Probability Sampling 199

Sampling Methods 201

Nonprobability Sampling 205

Central Limit Theorem 207

Applications of the Central Limit Theorem 211

Sources of Bias and Error: A Reprise 217

Research in Action: Trends in HIV-Related Risk Behaviors 220

Chapter Summary 224

Chapter Glossary for Review 225

Chapter References 227

Chapter 8 Creating and Using Assessments, Surveys, and Objective Measures 228

Introduction 228

Purpose of Measurement 228

Caveat Assessor 229

Creating a Measurement Scale and Developing a Data Collection Strategy 231

Interviews, Questionnaires, and Attitude Surveys 232

Question Response Formats 236

Writing Good Questionnaire and Survey Items 241

Determining the Sample Size for a Survey 246

Naturalistic Observation 249

Research in Action: Analysis of Assaults 255

Chapter Summary 260

Chapter Glossary for Review 261

Chapter References 262

Chapter 9 A Model for Research Design 265

Introduction 265

A Model for Research Design 266

What Is the Independent Variable? 272

What Is the Dependent Variable? 274

Are There Any Confounding Variables? 277

What Are the Research Hypotheses? 279

Mathematical Hypotheses 280

Evaluating Hypotheses 282

Evaluating Hypotheses: Practical Matters 284

Research in Action: Sex Differences and Memory for Emotional Events 289

Research in Action: Changing Attitudes by Writing Essays 290

Chapter Summary 291

Chapter Glossary for Review 293

Chapter References 295

Part III Common Research Designs 297

Chapter 10 Correlational Research 299

Introduction 299

Conceptual Review of Correlation 300

Pearson’s r 302

Interpreting the Correlation Coefficient 302

Factors That Corrupt a Correlation Coefficient 304

Sample Size and the Correlation Coefficient 308

Applications of the Correlation Coefficient 310

Regression Analysis 315

Introduction to Mediation and Moderation 317

Regression to the Mean 318

Research in Action: Searching Short-Term Memory 321

Statistics behind the Research 323

Chapter Summary 331

Chapter Glossary for Review 333

Chapter References 334

Chapter 11 Between-Subjects Designs 335

Introduction 335

Student’s t-Ratio for Independent Groups 336

Review of Hypothesis Testing 338

Testing Statistical Hypotheses 340

Common Errors in the Interpretation of p 348

The Power of a Test 350

Estimating Sample Size 355

Research in Action: Word Meaning and Memory 357

Statistics behind the Research 359

Chapter Summary 368

Chapter Glossary for Review 369

Chapter References 369

Chapter 12 Single-Variable Between-Subjects Research 371

Introduction 371

Independent Variable 372

Cause and Effect 374

Gaining Control over the Variables 375

The General Linear Model 379

Components of Variance 382

The F-Ratio 384

H0 and H1 387

F-Ratio Sampling Distribution 388

Summarizing and Interpreting ANOVA Results 389

Effect Size and Power 391

Multiple Comparisons of the Means 392

Research in Action: Detecting Lies 396

Statistics behind the Research 398

Chapter Summary 403

Chapter Glossary for Review 404

Chapter References 406

Chapter 13 Between-Subjects Factorial Designs 407

Introduction 407

The Logic of the Two-Variable Design 408

Advantages of the Two-Variable Design 409

Factorial Designs: Variables, Levels, and Cells 413

Examples of Factorial Designs 414

Main Effects and Interaction 418

Designing a Factorial Study 426

Identifying Samples and Estimating Sample Size 429

Interpreting the Interaction: Advanced Considerations 431

Research in Action: Reinforcing Creativity 432

Statistics behind the Research 434

Chapter Summary 441

Chapter Glossary for Review 441

Chapter References 442

Chapter 14 Correlated-Groups Designs 443

Introduction 443

Logic of the Correlated-Groups Research Design 444

Repeated-Measures Design 445

Matched-Groups Design 455

Mixed-Model Design 460

Research in Action: Memory for Related Words 461

Statistics behind the Research 463

Chapter Summary 465

Chapter Glossary for Review 468

Chapter References 469

Part IV Special Research Designs 471

Chapter 15 Single-Participant Experiments, Longitudinal Studies, and Quasi-Experimental Designs 473

Introduction 473

Single-Participant Experiments 475

Research in Action: Treatment for Panic Disorder 484

Longitudinal Designs 487

Research in Action: Onset of Bulimia 491

Quasi-Experiments 493

Research in Action: Traffic Laws and Safety 496

Chapter Summary 498

Chapter Glossary for Review 499

Chapter References 499

Chapter 16 Research with Categorical Data 502

Introduction 502

Goodness-of-Fit Test 504

x2 Test of Independence 508

x2 Test of Homogeneity 511

Further Analysis of the x2 513

McNemar Test 516

Research in Action: Long-Term Effects of Childhood Abuse 519

Chapter Summary 522

Chapter Glossary for Review 523

Chapter References 523

Chapter 17 Qualitative and Mixed-Methods Research 525

Introduction 525

Qualitative versus Quantitative Research 526

Theory and Perspectives Guiding Qualitative Research 527

Mixing Methods: Quantitative and Qualitative Combined 528

Qualitative and Mixed-Methods Data Collection and Analysis 530

Benefits and Challenges of Mixed-Methods Research 537

Sources of Published Qualitative and Mixed-Methods Research 541

Research in Action: Gender- and Job-Based Differences in Work Stress 542

Chapter Summary 545

Chapter Glossary for Review 545

Chapter References 546

Appendix A Statistics behind the Research or, “What Was I Supposed to Remember from My Statistics Class Anyway?” 548

Appendix B Statistical Tables 566

Appendix C Answers to Knowledge Check Questions 606

Author Index 637

Subject Index 641 

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