At some point or other in their academic careers, most tertiary-level students are going to be faced with having to do a research project. It is a fundamental part of further education that many students find daunting. This need not be the case. First steps in research uses the most current perspectives in the field both locally and internationally to provide practical guidelines on how to conduct and report on research at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
First steps in research facilitates the understanding and application of theories, goals, methods and strategies, being easy to read and use without diluting the conceptual and terminological complexities of the field. It examines the historical and philosophical underpinnings of qualitative, quantitative and integrated or mixed methods of conducting research and suggests how these three approaches may best be used. It also elaborates on the methodological dimensions of action research processes and exemplifies participatory reflection.
Contents include the following:
• Formulating a research question
• Planning a research proposal
• Conducting a preliminary literature review
• Ethical considerations
• Interpreting data
• Data collection methods, including how to engage participants and elicit “thick” data
• Sampling methods
• Graphical ways of representing data
• Basic probability rules
• Basic statistical methods and tests/techniques
First steps in research is aimed at novice researchers, including undergraduate students or junior postgraduate students who are encountering research methodology for the first time.
Chapter 1 What is a research question and why is it important?
Chapter 2 Introduction to the language of research
Chapter 3 Planning a research proposal
Chapter 4 Introducing qualitative research
Chapter 5 Qualitative research designs and data-gathering techniques
Chapter 6 Analysing qualitative data
Chapter 7 First steps in action research
Chapter 8 The quantitative research process
Chapter 9 Surveys and the use of questionnaires
Chapter 10 Sampling
Chapter 11 Statistical analysis I: descriptive statistics
Chapter 12 Statistical analysis II: inferential statistics
Chapter 13 Standardisation of a questionnaire
Chapter 14 Overview of some of the most popular statistical techniques
Chapter 15 Foundations and approaches to mixed methods research
Appendix A Proposed title: Exploring learners’ management of career-related transitions through self-construction
Appendix B Some technical details
Appendix C Check list for designing a mixed methods study
Appendix D Telephone questionnaire for expectant fathers
Appendix E Table of random numbers
Appendix F Questionnaire for first-year students of education
Appendix G Small-scale survey research: an example (“classic” two-group research design)
Appendix H Small-scale survey research: an example (Solomon’s three group research design)
Appendix I Questions based on an encapsulation of the key outcomes of quantitative research
Appendix J Letter of application to conduct research
Supplementary material available for this title includes:
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