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When to Use What Research Design

By W. Paul Vogt, Dianne C. Gardner, Lynne Haeffele

Guilford Press – 2012 – 378 pages

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Systematic, practical, and accessible, this is the first book to focus on finding the most defensible design for a particular research question. Thoughtful guidelines are provided for weighing the advantages and disadvantages of various methods, including qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods designs. The book can be read sequentially or readers can dip into chapters on specific stages of research (basic design choices, selecting and sampling participants, addressing ethical issues) or data collection methods (surveys, interviews, experiments, observations, archival studies, and combined methods). Many chapter headings and subheadings are written as questions, helping readers quickly find the answers they need to make informed choices that will affect the later analysis and interpretation of their data. Useful features include:*Easy-to-navigate part and chapter structure.*Engaging research examples from a variety of fields.*End-of-chapter tables that summarize the main points covered.*Detailed suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter. *Integration of data collection, sampling, and research ethics in one volume.*Comprehensive glossary.See also Vogt et al.'s Selecting the Right Analyses for Your Data, which addresses the next steps in coding, analyzing, and interpreting data.


"A hugely useful resource to navigate through the initial stages of research design, applicable to students and seasoned researchers alike. … The layout of the book allows the reader to easily select those chapters that are most relevant to their interests, and is facilitated by signposting of additional sources to support the reader. The book is well written and accessible, posing questions throughout to guide the reader through the research process. A useful resource for any researcher." - Kareena McAloney, University of York, UK, in The Psychologist

"A masterful and thorough presentation of 'when to use what.' From beginning to end, it is clear that you are reading the work of very accomplished researchers and educators. The authors use a particularly rich, colorful, and practical set of examples, including classic and contemporary research studies as well as wonderful day-to-day illustrations, such as TV channel surfing to introduce the notion of sampling. Readers can pick and choose individual chapters or read straight through the entire book, depending on their needs. The summary tables are extraordinarily useful and can serve as a quick reference to chapter structure and content." - Karen M. Staller, University of Michigan, USA

"I am recommending this book as the core text for our required methods course at the graduate level. The reader is taken on a tour of the main research designs employed by social scientists, including various quantitative and qualitative, experimental and observational, and primary and secondary data designs. Highlighting how decisions about research design should be influenced by the nature of the research question, the authors also acknowledge when other factors come into play, including financial and ethical considerations. The text helps researchers decide when to use a particular research design; teaches how to choose appropriate methods for sampling, recruiting, and assigning treatments (for experiments); and explores the implications of these decisions. I like how the authors talk about debates in the literature and how they point out typical/common shortcomings of different approaches. Their frank language gives the book the feel of a trusted advisor providing honest advice." - Tracey LaPierre, University of Kansas, USA

"This book is on an essential topic – the questions it tackles are incredibly important in the social sciences. It reads like a field guide to conducting good research. I would recommend it to advanced undergraduates who need a handy reference or to graduate students who want one resource for their basic design, sampling, and ethics questions. It is accessible and easy to read. The authors present the process of research as full of choices that are best tackled by an informed researcher – no choice is universally the best one. The book emphasizes the importance of careful thought and weighing of pros and cons prior to conducting research." - Theresa DiDonato, Loyola University Maryland, USA

"The use of questions as subheads is an effective pedagogical technique. Teaching students to turn a heading into a question and then reading the textbook section to find the answer to the question has a rich history as an instructional strategy." - Susan Kushner Benson, University of Akron, Ohio, USA

"The book is very well written and readable, a real plus! I really like the authors’ premise that the research question determines the choice of method, rather than vice versa." - Rosemary L. Hopcroft, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA


General Introduction: Design, Sampling, and EthicsI. Research Questions and DesignsWhat Is the Role of Theory in Research Questions and Designs?1. When to Use Survey DesignsWhen Are Surveys Likely to Be a Wise Design Choice?When Should You Use Which Mode of Administering Your Survey?What Design Should You Use to Study Change over Time?What Question Formats Can You Use in a Survey Design?Conclusion on Survey Designs: So Many Questions, So Little Time2. When to Use Interview DesignsComparing Interviews with SurveysConclusion on Interview Designs in GeneralSpecific Interview Types, Approaches, and ProceduresConclusion3. When to Use Experimental DesignsWhat’s Wrong with Gold-Standard Thinking?When Is an RCT a Good Option?When Is an Experimental Design a Good Option for Your Research?When Should You Use the Basic Types of Experimental Design?General Conclusion on When to Use Experimental Designs4. When to Use Naturalistic and Participant Observational DesignsOverview of Observational DesignsWhen Is Observation a Good Design Choice?Further Distinguishing between Naturalistic and Participant Observational DesignsWhen Should You Use a Naturalistic Observational Design?When Should You Use Participant Observational Designs?Conclusion: Characteristics of All Observational Designs5. When to Use Archival Designs: Literature Reviews and Secondary AnalysesWhat Kinds of Archival Data Are Available for Researchers?When Should You Collect and Use Preexisting Data Rather Than Produce Your Own?Types of Archival ResearchDatabase ArchivesOrganizational RecordsTextual Studies of DocumentsNew Media, Including Internet SourcesConclusion6. When to Use Combined Research DesignsSimple versus Multipart Research QuestionsWhen to Combine Research DesignsTypes and Qualities of Combined DesignsLogistical Considerations in Combined Research DesignsConclusion and SummaryII. Sampling, Selection, and Recruitment7. Sampling for SurveysProbability SamplesNonprobability SamplesWhen Should You Try to Improve Response Rates?How Big Should Your Sample Be?Conclusion8. Identifying and Recruiting People for InterviewsHow Interview Strategies Are Shaped by Research QuestionsMaking Basic Decisions about Interview SamplingConclusions on Selecting People to Interview9. Sampling, Recruiting, and Assigning Participants in ExperimentsRandomized Controlled TrialsAlternatives to RCTsControlling for CovariatesConclusion: Sampling, Recruiting, and Assigning Cases in Experiments10. Searching and Sampling for ObservationsOverview of Searching and Sampling Concerns in Observational ResearchAppropriateness and Relevance of the SampleAccessing Observation SitesDecisions Influenced by Resources and Other Practical ConsiderationsFour Basic Sampling DecisionsSampling and the Five Types of Research QuestionsConclusion and Summary11. Sampling from Archival SourcesWhen Do You Search and When Do You Sample?Sampling Research Literature to Build Upon and Synthesize ItDatabase ArchivesOrganizational RecordsTextual Studies of DocumentsNew Media, Including Various Internet SourcesConclusion12. Sampling and Recruiting for Combined Research DesignsWhen Should You Use Probability Samples in Your Combined Design Study?When Should You Use Purposive Samples in Your Combined Design Study?When Should You Use Both Probability and Purposive Samples in Your Study?Conclusion and SummaryIII. Research Ethics: The Responsible Conduct of ResearchResponsibilities toward the Persons Being StudiedResponsibilities toward Other ResearchersResponsibilities toward the Broader Society/Community13. Ethics in Survey ResearchConsent: Informed Participants Willingly Joining the Research ProjectHarm: Preventing Injury to RespondentsPrivacy: Ensuring Respondents’ Anonymity and/or ConfidentialityConclusion14. Ethics in Interview ResearchConsent: Informed Participants Willingly Agreeing to Be InterviewedHarm: Preventing Injury to Interviewees during the InterviewPrivacy: Ensuring Interviewees’ ConfidentialityConclusion15. Ethics in Experimental ResearchConsent: Informed Participants Willingly Joining the Research ProjectHarm: Preventing Injury to Experimental ParticipantsPrivacy: Ensuring Participants’ Anonymity and/or ConfidentialityConclusion16. Ethics in Observational ResearchSeeking and Acquiring Informed Consent to ObserveAvoiding and Minimizing Harm to Participants While Conducting the StudyEnsuring Participant PrivacyConclusion17. Ethical Issues in Archival ResearchEthical Practice in Reviews of the Research LiteratureEthical Practices in Employing Database ArchivesEthical Obligations When Using Institutional RecordsEthical Issues When Using Documents, Including Public DocumentsEthical Issues When Using Blogs and Other Sources Published On-lineWhen Might the Honest, Correct Reporting of Archival Research Cause Harm?Conclusion18. Ethical Considerations in Combined Research DesignsConsentHarmPrivacyConclusion: Culmination of Design, Sampling, and Ethics in Valid Data CodingWhen to Use Qualities or Quantities, Names or Numbers, Categories or Continua?What Methods to Use to Code Concepts with Reliability and ValidityWhat Methods to Use to Improve ReliabilityWhat Methods to Use to Enhance ValidityWhat to Use to Code Concepts ValidlyCoding Decisions Shape Analytic OptionsGlossary

Author Bio

W. Paul Vogt, PhD, is Emeritus Professor of Research Methods and Evaluation at Illinois State University, where he has won both teaching and research awards. Dr. Vogt’s areas of specialization include research design and data analysis, with particular emphasis on combining qualitative, quantitative, and graphic approaches. Dianne C. Gardner, PhD, is Associate Professor of Educational Administration at Illinois State University. Dr. Gardner’s research interests include assessment, organizational development, program evaluation, P20 systems, and qualitative research methodology. Lynne M. Haeffele, PhD, is Senior Research Associate in the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University. Dr. Haeffele’s research interests include combining research designs, applying research findings to policy and practice, program evaluation, and the topical areas of college readiness, organizational performance, and school–university partnerships.

Name: When to Use What Research Design (Paperback)Guilford Press 
Description: By W. Paul Vogt, Dianne C. Gardner, Lynne Haeffele. Systematic, practical, and accessible, this is the first book to focus on finding the most defensible design for a particular research question. Thoughtful guidelines are provided for weighing the advantages and disadvantages of various methods,...
Categories: Psychological Methods & Statistics, Research Methods in Education, Research Methods - Soc. Policy, Nursing Research, Research Methods in Management