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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780133041279
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 7/3/2012
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 672
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.15 (d)

Meet the Author

John W. Creswell is a Professor of Educational Psychology and teaches courses and writes about educational research design, mixed methods research, and qualitative methodology. He has been at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for 30 years and has authored 12 books, numerous new editions of these books, and over 150 journal and book chapter publications. These works focus on quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research. In addition, he founded both the Office of Qualitative and Mixed Methods Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the SAGE journal, the Journal of Mixed Methods Research. He has been an Adjunct Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan and assisted investigators in developing proposals for extramural funding in the health sciences and education. In 2008, he was a Senior Fulbright Scholar to South Africa and lectured on research methodology at five universities.

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Table of Contents

Pt. I An Overview of Educational Research 1
Ch. 1 An Introduction to the Process of Research 2
Ch. 2 Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches 42
Pt. II The Steps in the Process of Research 65
Ch. 3 Identifying a Research Problem 66
Ch. 4 Reviewing the Literature 85
Ch. 5 Specifying a Purpose and Research Questions or Hypotheses 124
Ch. 6 Collecting Quantitative Data 158
Ch. 7 Collecting Qualitative Data 190
Ch. 8 Analyzing and Interpreting Quantitative Data 220
Ch. 9 Analyzing and Interpreting Qualitative Data 256
Ch. 10 Reporting and Evaluating Research 284
Pt. III Research Designs 311
Ch. 11 Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs 313
Ch. 12 Correlational Designs 360
Ch. 13 Survey Designs 395
Ch. 14 Grounded Theory Designs 438
Ch. 15 Ethnographic Designs 480
Ch. 16 Narrative Research Designs 520
Ch. 17 Mixed Method Designs 559
Ch. 18 Action Research Designs 602
App. A Determining Size Using Sample Size Tables 633
App. B Strategies for Defending a Research Proposal 637
Glossary 641
References 652
Author Index 659
Subject Index 663
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The philosophy that guided the development of this text is twofold. First, research involves a process of activities rather than the application of isolated, unrelated concepts and ideas. Educators practice research following a general sequence of procedures—from the initial identification of a research problem to the final report of research. This means that understanding the sequence or flow of activities is central to inquiry. Thus, the text begins with specific chapters devoted to each step in the process of research and the inclusion of concepts and ideas within this process.

Second, the educational researcher today needs a large toolbox of approaches to study the complex educational issues in our society. No longer can we, as educators, use only experiments or surveys to address our research problems. Educators in this new century—whether conducting research or reading research to self-inform—need to know about both quantitative and qualitative approaches to inquiry and to have an in-depth understanding of the multiple research designs and procedures used in our studies today. Throughout the steps in the process of research, you will be introduced to both quantitative and qualitative approaches to examine each step and learn about their differences and similarities in application. The text will also introduce you to eight distinct quantitative and qualitative research designs or procedures that comprise the repertoire of the educational researcher today.


This text is the first introduction to educational research to offer a truly balanced, inclusive, and integrated overview of the field as it currently stands. As you willsee from the table of contents, the book's coverage is unique in its balanced presentation of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed method research. Moreover, it consistently examines foundational issues of research—for example, determining how to approach a project and understanding what constitutes data and how to analyze them—from both quantitative and qualitative perspectives. This approach helps students understand fundamental differences and similarities between and among these approaches. Three ideas are central to this text—it:

  • Provides a balanced coverage of quantitative and qualitative research
  • Helps students learn how to begin to do research
  • Helps students learn how to read and evaluate research studies

Let's look at each of these in detail to see how they can help you achieve your course objectives.

Balances Coverage of Quantitative and Qualitative Research

This text provides a balanced coverage of all types of research designs. This provides readers with a complete picture of educational research as it is currently practiced. After an overview in Part I of the general nature of educational research and the specific quantitative and qualitative approaches to it, the book examines in depth the steps in the research process in Part II, Chapters 3-10:

  1. identifying a research problem
  2. reviewing the literature
  3. specifying a purpose and research questions or hypotheses
  4. collecting either quantitative or qualitative data
  5. analyzing and interpreting either quantitative or qualitative data
  6. reporting and evaluating the research

Looking at the process simultaneously from both quantitative and qualitative perspectives helps students understand what choices a researcher has available and what meaning exists for a particular choice.

After this discussion, in Part III students will learn the procedures for conducting specific types of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed method studies. Chapters 11-18 provide balanced coverage and examples of each of these types of educational research designs: experimental and quasi-experimental, correlational, survey, grounded theory, ethnography, narrative, mixed method, and action research.

Helps Students Learn How to Begin to Do Research

Both the research process and design chapters offer the researcher step-by-step guidance in the basic aspects of planning, conducting, and evaluating research. A number of features guide readers through the steps and procedures of research. For example, a fictional beginning researcher, Maria, who is also a high school teacher and new graduate student, is followed throughout Part II and Part III to illustrate one researcher's efforts and to provide students with a realistic perspective of the process of research and the selection of specific research designs. Other features include, but are not limited to:

  • Tips on planning and conducting research in "Useful Information for Producers of Research"
  • Checklists that summarize key points, such as evaluation criteria to use to assess the quality of a quantitative or qualitative study
  • In-text examples of actual and hypothetical studies that illustrate the correct and incorrect ways of reporting research
  • Follow-up activities in "Study Questions and Activities" to help students apply the concepts they've just learned
  • The "Think Aloud" feature describes practices that the author has found useful

Helps Students Learn How to Read and Evaluate Research Studies

Direct guidance on reading research is offered throughout the text. To further help students become more skilled at interpreting and evaluating research, the text offers a number of features. Most important among these are the many articles included in the text and the "Useful Information for Consumers of Research" feature.

  • The text provides annotated research articles in each of the design chapters in Part III. Two other articles—one qualitative, one quantitative—appear at the end of Chapter 1. All of these complete articles (there are numerous other, shorter article excerpts in the book) include highlighted marginal annotations that help students understand the structure of articles and the key issues with which a reader should be concerned when evaluating the quality and the applicable scope of each particular piece of research.
  • The "Useful Information for Consumers of Research" feature appears at the end of every chapter and offers concrete guidance in interpreting and in evaluating research.


A number of ancillaries are available to complement the text. For students, a Study Guide and a Companion Website are available to reinforce and extend learning. Instructors may use the Instructor's Manual and Test Bank, a Computerized Test Bank, and customized PowerPoint slides and other materials on the Companion Website.

Study Guide. The Study Guide contains reprinted research articles accompanied by worksheets to help students apply what they have learned in the text. Exercises pertaining to Chapters 1-10 require students to analyze articles in terms of their components, the process of research, and differences in conducting quantitative and qualitative studies. Exercises for research design Chapters 11-18 ask students to evaluate reprinted quantitative and qualitative studies, thereby deepening their understanding of design distinctions. Also included are multiple-choice practice test items to assess understanding and prepare students for class exams.

Companion Website. You can find the Companion Website at This free on-line learning site helps students master course content with interactive self-quizzes, challenging application problems, and Internet links to explore related topics. The site enables instructors to manage their course on-line with Syllabus Manager and provides access and print options for PowerPoint slides to enhance class lectures.

Instructor's Manual/Test Bank. An Instructor's Manual with Test Bank is available to accompany this text. For each chapter in the book, this manual provides strategies for teaching chapter content, lecture notes that summarize important concepts requiring review and reinforcement, and transparency masters for overhead use or as handouts to students. (Duplicates of these transparencies are provided electronically on the Companion Website in PowerPoint for instructors' use.) This manual also provides suggestions for when and how to use the supplements with the text.

The test bank portion of the book contains various types of items—multiple-choice, matching, short essay, and fill-in-the-blank—for each chapter. Questions ask students to identify and describe research processes and design characteristics they have learned, as well as classify and evaluate quantitative and qualitative studies and research situations.

Computerized Test Bank. A Computerized Test Bank, which is a replication of the printed test bank, is available on disk for Windows and Macintosh.


Although this book was written during a four-year period, it was a culmination of 30 years of experience in conducting both quantitative and qualitative research in education and the social sciences. It could not have been written without the capable assistance of numerous individuals, such as graduate students, research assistants, and colleagues at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Dr. Dana Miller assisted in a timely and thorough review of many chapters. Vicki Plano Clark provided editorial assistance and a key conceptual eye for missing details. Dong Dong Zhang provided inspiration for many applied ideas and support at critical phases of the project. Other graduate students such as Michael Toland, Kathy Shapely, and many unnamed students in my graduate program area, Quantitative and Qualitative Methods of Education, and students in my classes on the foundations of educational research offered useful ideas. Dr. Bill Mickelson served as a statistics consultant and quantitative analysis reviewer.

I am also indebted to Kevin Davis at Merrill for initiating this book and providing the vision to launch it as the "next generation" research methods text in education. Julie Peters, my excellent development editor at Merrily provided patience, support, and useful insights throughout the project. Martha Beyerlein, my production editor, served an invaluable role in the final days of book preparation.

Numerous reviewers nationally helped to shape this book as well. They include Sean Courtney, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Kevin Crehan, University of Nevada-Las Vegas; Andrea Guillaume, California State University, Fullerton; Gretchen Guiton, University of Southern California; Rick Ittenbach, Johns Hopkins University; Tony Lam, University of Toronto-OISE; Robert R. Lange, University of Central Florida; Patti Lather, The Ohio State University; Jaekyung Lee, University of Maine; Geoff Mills, Southern Oregon University; Tamera Murdock, University of Missouri-Kansas City; LeAnn Putney, University of Nevada-Las Vegas; John Rausch, University of Oklahoma; Abbas Tashakkori, Florida International University; and Karen Westburg, University of Connecticut.

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