Practical Research Methods for Nonprofit and Public Administrators

Paperback (Print)
Rent from
(Save 83%)
Est. Return Date: 04/01/2015
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $48.30
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 50%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (12) from $48.30   
  • New (5) from $53.26   
  • Used (7) from $47.98   


Debuting in its first edition, Practical Research Methods for Nonprofit and Public Administrators provides professionally-oriented students with in-depth attention to applications. This new text contains explicit links to the four major research applications and strategic management values while covering data analysis techniques.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“My biggest frustration in my Research Methods course is the lack of a textbook that provides the necessary content in a manner that students can relate to. The challenge then is to work, work, and work on driving home the main themes that I want students to retain. The O’Sullivan text conveys course material in a more readable form, focuses on important concepts rather than taking a broad brush approach, and offers a number of end-of-chapter exercises that really distinguish this text.”

-David Shetterly, Troy University

Read More Show Less

Product Details

Table of Contents


SECTION I Research in Nonprofit and Public Programs: The Basics

Chapter 1 Research in Public and Nonprofit Programs: The Basics 1

Research and Effective Management 1

Defining the Research Question 2

The Building Blocks of Research 3

Variables, Values, and Constants 3

Hypotheses 4

Defining Research Subjects 8

The Organization of this Text 9

Exercises 11

1.1 Learning from Sarah's story 11

1.2 On Your Own 13

Chapter 2 Measurement 14

Conceptual and Operational Definitions 14

Reliability 17

Operational Validity 20

Sensitivity 24

Concluding Observations 24

Recommended Resources 25

Exercises 25

2.1 Good Nutrition Survey 25

2.2 Living Wage: From Idea to Measure 27

2.3 Selecting Job Applicants 28

2.4 On Your Own 33

Chapter 3 Ethical Treatment of Research Subjects 34

A Cornerstone of Ethical Research: The Tuskegee Syphilis Study 34

Principles of Ethical Treatment of Human Subjects 36

Informed Consent 37

Identifying and Weighing Costs, Risks, and Benefits 38

Selection of Subjects 39

Protecting Privacy and Confidentiality 40

Federal Policy on Protection of Human Subjects and Institutional Review Boards 43

Beyond Informed Consent and Confidentiality: Issues of Interest to Administrators 44

Ethical Values 46

Concluding Observations 47

Recommended Resources 47

Exercises 47

3.1 Learning about Teenaged Mothers 48

3.2 Evaluating a Debt Counseling Program 50

3.3 On Your Own 51

SECTION II Performance Measurement Systems: Their Design and Analysis 52

Chapter 4 Designing Performance Measures and Monitoring Systems 53

An Overview of Performance Measurement and Monitoring 54

Logic Models 54

Efficiency and Productivity 57

Data Sources 59

Administrative Records 59

Customer Feedback 59

Trained Observers and Rating Systems 59

Census Data 59

Government Records 60

Time Series 60

Concluding Observations 64

Recommended Resources 64

Exercises 64

4.1 Childhood Vaccination Program 65

4.2 Comparing Two Job Training and Placement Programs 66

4.3 Variations in Unemployment 67

4.4 On Your Own 67

Chapter 5 Analyzing Performance Measures 68

Measurement Scales 68

Entering Data on a Spreadsheet 71

Counting the Values: Frequency Distributions 72

Relative Frequency Distribution 73

Cumulative Relative Frequency Distribution 73

Presenting Data Visually 74

Pie Charts 74

Bar Graphs and Histograms 75

Time Series Graphs 77

Rates and Percentage Change 77

Rates 77

Percentage Change 79

Characteristics of a Distribution 80

Measures of Central Tendency 80

Measures of Variation and Dispersion 82

Concluding Observations 86

Recommended Resources 86

Exercises 87

5.1 Fresh Start Center 87

5.2 Purple Flower Neighborhood Association 89

SECTION III Citizen Surveys: Their Design and Analysis 91

Chapter 6 Selecting and Contacting Subjects 92

The Principles of Sample Design 92

Sampling Terminology 92

Probability Samples 94

Nonprobability Samples 98

Sample Size 99

For Qualitative Studies 99

For Probability Samples 100

Nonsampling Errors 100

Contacting People to Get Information 101

Mail Surveys 102

Internet Surveys 103

Telephone Surveys 104

In-Person Interviewing 105

Concluding Observations 106

Recommended Resources 106

Exercises 106

6.1 Learning from Practice 107

6.2 The Long Street History Museum 107

6.3 Health Care for Children and Adolescents 108

6.4 On Your Own 109

Chapter 7 Questions and Questionnaire for Surveys and Interviews 110

Questions for Surveys and Forms 111

Closed-ended Questions 113

Open-ended Questions 117

Reviewing the Questionnaire 119

Designing the questionnaire 119

Introductions and First Questions 119

Filter Questions 121

Demographic Questions 121

Questions for Interviews and focus Groups 121

Planning, Pretesting, and Piloting Surveys and Interview Protocols 124

Concluding Observations 125

Recommended Resources 125

Exercises 126

7.1 The Long Street History Museum (Revisited) 126

7.2 Metro Citizen Kitchen and Food Pantry 126

7.3 On Your Own 128

Chapter 8 Analyzing Survey Data: Describing Relationships Among Variables 129

Analyzing Nominal and Ordinal Variables: Contingency Tables 129

Analyzing Ratio Variables: Linear Regression and Correlation 132

Multiple Regression: Regression and Correlation with More Than One Independent Variable 135

Concluding Observations 137

Recommended Resources 137

Exercises 137

8.1 Nonprofit Participation in Experimental Financial Assistance Program 138

8.2 Do Public Service Announcements Yield More Volunteers? 140

8.3 Physicians for Access 141

8.4 Fresh Start Center 142

Chapter 9 Generalizing from Survey Findings: Applying Inferential Statistics 145

Sampling Statistics 145

Sample Size 148

Tests of Statistical Significance 149

Stating the Null Hypothesis 150

Selecting an Alpha Level 152

Selecting and Computing a Test Statistic 153

Making a Decision 156

Alternatives to Tests of Statistical Significance 156

Concluding Observations 157

Recommended Resources 158

Exercises 158

9.1 Reviewing Polling Data 158

9.2 Attitudes toward Corporal Punishment: Are Men and Women Different? 159

9.3 What Is Going On in the Schools? 160

9.4 How Groups Work Together 161

Chapter 10 Analyzing Interviews and Open-Ended Questions 163

Preparing Data for Analysis 164

Conducting the Analysis 165

Reviewing the Data---Get to Know Your Data: Read, Reread 165

Coding the Data 166

Analyzing the Data: Second Level Coding 167

Interpreting the Data 168

Using Quotes to Support Your Points 168

Biases and Credibility 169

Computer-Assisted Data Analysis 170

Concluding Observations 170

Recommended Resources 171

Exercises 171

10.1 Nonprofit Lobbying 171

10.2 Learning from Others - Making a Public Apology 174

SECTION IV Programs and Communities 175

Chapter 11 Research to Evaluate Programs 176

How To Focus An Evaluation 177

Designs for Evaluation 178

Internal Validity 179

Experimental Designs 180

The Classical Experimental Design 181

Randomized Posttest Only Experimental Design 182

Quasi-Experimental Designs 183

Non-Experimental Designs 185

External Validity 186

Deciding that a Program Works: The Search for Evidence 186

Cost-Benefit Analysis 187

Concluding Observations 189

Recommended Resources 189

Exercises 189

11.1 An Antiflu Campaign 190

11.2 Prenatal Support Program 192

11.3 On Your Own 194

Chapter 12 Community Needs Assessment 197

Identifying Needs 197

Concept of Need 198

Describing Needs and Services 200

Collecting Information from Databases and Agencies 201

Collecting Information from Individuals 203

Concluding Observations 206

Recommended Resources 207

Exercises 207

12.1 Sustainable South Bronx 207

12.2 Learning from Practice---How a Needs Assessment Looks 208

12.3 On Your Own 208

Chapter 13 Working with Geographic Information Systems 210

GIS Basics 211

Selecting, Creating, and Using GIS Data 212

Basic GIS Analysis 212

Management and Ethical Issues Associated with GIS 214

General Issues About Maps 214

Privacy Issues in GIS 215

Common GIS Mapping Functions 215

Using GIS Functions: Examples of Applications 221

Concluding Observations 222

Recommended Resources 223

Exercises 223

13.1 Creating an After-School Program 224

13.2 Services for the Mobility Impaired 224

13.3 Learning from Practice: How Agencies Use GIS 225

13.4 NewLand 226

Chapter 14 Communicating Findings 227

Variations in Audiences and their Needs 227

Oral Presentations of Research Findings 228

Written Presentations 230

Background Information 230

Methodology Section 231

Findings 232

Discussion 233

Recommendations 233

Executive Summary 233

Ethical Issues 234

Research Misconduct 234

Handling Research Errors 236

Saving Data 237

Concluding Observations 237

Recommended Resources 238

Exercises 238

14.1 A Learning from Practice: From Written Report to Oral Presentation 239

14.2 Learning from Practice: Critiquing an Oral Presentation 240

Glossary 241

Index 247

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)