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Doing Your Research Project: A Guide for First-Time Researchers in Education, Health and Social Science / Edition 4

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Overview

"Step-by-Step advice on completing an outstanding research project." "Research projects can be daunting, particularly for first-timers, but this indispensable book outlines the process clearly to help you prepare for each step of the project. It provides everything you need to know to prepare for, research, draft and finalise a methodologically sound and rigorous report or thesis, plus it warns you of potential pitfalls to prevent you wasting time on false trails." This bestselling book is an essential resource to help establish good practice for beginner researchers embarking on undergraduate or postgraduate study, and for professionals in such fields as social science, education and health.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780335215058
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education
  • Publication date: 7/28/2005
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 267
  • Product dimensions: 5.73 (w) x 8.67 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Judith Bell has worked as a university lecturer, head of department and vice principal in colleges of further education; as a senior counsellor and course team writer for the Open University; and as one of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools specializing in continuing education. In 1997 she was awarded the MBE for services to educational research and in the same year was awarded the degree of D.Univ by the Open University, for services to adult education and to the University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements

Introduction 1

Part I Preparing the ground 3

1 Approaches to research 5

Action research and the role of practitioner researchers 6

Case study 8

Critics of case study 9

Survey 11

The experimental style 12

Ethnography and the ethnographic style of research 14

The grounded theory approach 15

Narrative inquiry and stories 18

Which approach? 22

Further reading 22

2 Planning the project 27

Selecting a topic 27

Getting started 28

The purpose of the study 30

Hypotheses, objectives and researchable questions 31

Working title and the project outline 33

Timing 34

Supervision 35

Student-supervisor relationships 35

Codes of practice for supervision 36

Change of supervisor 37

Keeping records of supervisory tutorials 38

The research experience 38

Writing as you go along and the research diary 39

Planning the project checklist 40

Further reading 42

3 Ethics and integrity in research 44

Research contracts, codes of practice, protocols and the principle of informed consent 45

Ethics committees 47

Confidentiality and anonymity 49

Safeguarding confidentiality and anonymity if disseminating information by computer 50

Ethical research in practice, the problems of áinside' research and personal codes of practice 53

Codes of ethical practice relating to intellectual ownership/property 57

The ethics and integrity in research checklist 59

Further reading 61

4 Reading, referencing and the management of information 63

Reading 63

Note-taking and guarding against plagiarism 64

Referencing 67

Creating, editing and storing references electronically 71

The card index 74

The management of information 74

A lot of fuss about nothing? 76

Reading, note-taking, guarding against plagiarism, referencing and the management of information checklist 78

Further reading 80

5 Literature searching 82

Defining the parameters of your search (search limiters) and keywords 83

Focusing, refining and grouping your keywords 84

Passwords, usernames and working from home 86

Libraries, librarians-and books 87

Scanning books into digital format 88

Journals 91

Citing sources from the Internet 92

Evaluating sources 93

Copyright and licensing restrictions when downloading items from web pages 95

Time to move on 96

The top ten guide to searching the Internet 96

Further reading 98

Appendix: Search engines and Internet Gateways 99

6 The review of the literature 103

The ácritical review' of the literature 104

Theory and theoretical (or conceptual) frameworks 105

The ácritical review' in practice 107

Reviewing the reviews 111

The review of the literature checklist 112

Further reading 114

Part II Selecting methods of data collection 115

Introduction 117

Constraints 118

Reliability and validity 119

Thinking about computer data analysis? 120

Not thinking about computer data analysis? 121

A reminder 122

Further reading 122

7 The analysis of documentary evidence Brendan Duffy Duffy, Brendan 124

The nature of documentary evidence 125

Approaches to documents 125

The location of documents 126

The selection of documents 131

The critical analysis of documents 134

The analysis of documentary evidence checklist 138

8 Designing and administering questionnaires 140

Exactly what do you need to find out? 141

Question types 141

Question wording 142

Appearance and layout 148

Drawing a sample 149

Piloting the questionnaire 151

Distribution and return of questionnaires 152

Respondents' and your rights and responsibilities 152

Non-response 153

Analysis of data 154

Designing and administering questionnaires checklist 154

Further reading 157

9 Planning and conducting interviews 160

The ethics of conducting interviews 160

Advantages and disadvantages of the interview 161

Question wording 162

The interview schedule 162

Group interviews and focus groups 165

Recording interviews 167

Bias-the old enemy 169

Remember! 170

Planning and conducting interviews checklist 172

Further reading 175

10 Diaries, logs and critical incidents 177

Representativeness 178

The diary-interview method 179

Piloting returns forms and instructions to participants 180

The primary pupils' food diary 182

The supply teachers' diary and time log 182

The general practitioners' time log 183

The asthma treatment diary 184

The heads of department critical incidents and problem-portfolio logs 184

The ethics of diary use 186

A final word of warning 186

Diaries, logs and critical incidents checklist 187

Further reading 189

11 Observation 191

Unstructured observation 192

Participant observation 193

Structured observation and keeping records 195

Recording behaviour 197

Content 199

A few words of warning - again 201

After the event 202

Observation checklist 203

Further reading 204

Part III Interpreting the evidence and reporting the findings 207

Introduction 209

12 Interpreting the evidence and reporting the findings 211

List questions 212

Quantity and category questions 214

Measures of central tendency 215

Coding 221

Grids 224

Scales 225

Verbal questions 233

Conclusions 233

Interpreting the evidence and reporting the findings checklist 234

Further reading 235

13 Writing the report 238

Getting started 238

The final writing task 239

Structuring the report 241

The need for revision 248

Any possibility of plagiarism? 250

Evaluating your own research 251

Writing the report checklist 252

Further reading 255

References 258

Index 271

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