Understanding Research / Edition 1

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Understanding Research is an accessible and visually-appealing introduction to research. Whether students become producers or consumers of research, this text shows them that the subject is both interesting and highly relevant for their lives and professional work.

The ISBN above if for the standalone book, if you want the Book/Access Card order the ISBN below:

0205724736 / 9780205724734 Understanding Research with MyResearchKit

Package consists of:

0205471536 / 9780205471539 Understanding

0205698581 / 9780205698585 MyResearchKit -- Access Card

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Review Summary

“This section is extremely important. Information in this section would be reiterated in lecture.”

Karen Benton

Urbana University

Learning from History

“This section is useful and would serve as a ink to changes in modern day, ethical research practice.”

Karen Benton

Urbana University

Tips for the Wise Consumer

“This section reinforces the need for students to look critically at the research process. This would be reinforced weekly in the article reviews.”

Karen Benton

Urbana University

“This is a great addition for those students who don’t foresee themselves conducting social research and is often neglected in other text books, which is a shame considering that most social science students don’t necessarily go on to produce social research of their own.”

Molly George

University of California at Santa Barbara


“Students will be able to apply the course concepts to other courses or in the workforce.”

Karen Benton

Urbana University

“Great examples are provided throughout the chapters.”

Karen Benton

Urbana University

“This is a very comprehensive, user-friendly text.”

John A. Lewis

University of Southern Mississippi

“The text is fluid and in-depth, but written at the appropriate level.”

John A. Lewis

University of Southern Mississippi


Chapter 8: Research with Nonreactive Members

“This chapter was thorough, used great examples, and provided a balanced assessment of the strengths and weaknesses associated with using nonreactive measures. I was impressed with the extensive descriptions the author provided to illustrate the key concepts related to this topic.”

Molly George

University of California at Santa Barbara

Chapter 9: Making Sense of Numbers

“The author did an excellent job introducing this chapter and presenting the fundamentals of quantitative research. I know this is often the most intimidating and most difficult topic for most of my students. I feel that the author’s use of examples and clear explanations works well.”

Molly George

University of California at Santa Barbara

Chapter 10: Field Research and Ethnography

“This is one of the strongest, most comprehensive explanations of field research that I have encountered in a social research text book. As an ethnographer, I am often disappointed with the superficial description of this approach. More specifically, I appreciated the inclusion fo contemporary qualitative research to illustrate key issue/concerns with this approach.”

Molly George

University of California at Santa Barbara


'Making It Practical'

“I think Making it Practical provides a very useful, straight-forward explanation of how to put field work principles into practice.”

Molly George

University of California at Santa Barbara

'Example Study'

“The study chosen as an example in Chapter 10’s study is excellent! It is one of my favorite studies produced this past year and using various elements f the project to illustrate different issues and abstract concepts in field work is a great idea.”

Molly George

University of California at Santa Barbara

Writing Style

“The author’s writing style is clear and well-organized.”

Molly George

University of California at Santa Barbara

“The writing style was excellent”

John A. Lewis

University of Southern Mississippi

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205471539
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 8/22/2008
  • Series: MySearchLab Series for Sociology Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 227,539
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

W. Lawrence Neuman James is professor of sociology and Asian Studies coordinator at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. His M.A. and Ph.D. were earned at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has authored seven books and published 35 articles and book chapters, which have appeared in Social Problems, Sociological Inquiry, Social Science Quarterly, American Sociological Review, Critical Asian Studies, Teaching Sociology, The Journal of Contemporary Asia, Sociological Quarterly, and other journals . He is a former president of the Wisconsin Sociological Association. Neuman has received his university’s highest award for research, the Chancellor's Award for service to students with disabilities, as well as the the Wisconsin Sociological Association's Outstanding Service Award, and the College of Letters and Sciences awards for outstanding teaching, excellence in research, and outstanding service.
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Table of Contents





Chapter 1: Why Do Research?

Chapter 2: Planning A Study

Chapter 3: Becoming An Ethical Researcher

Chapter 4: Sampling, How To Select A Few To Represent The Many

Chapter 5: Measuring Social Life, How Many? How Much? What Type?

Chapter 6: The Survey: Asking People Questions

Chapter 7: The Experiment

Chapter 8: Research With Non-Reactive Measures

Chapter 9: Making Sense Of The Numbers

Chapter 10: Observing People In Natural Settings

Chapter 11: Looking At The Past And Across Cultures

Chapter 12: Writing A Research Report



Chapter 1: Why do research?

On What Basis Do You Make Decisions?

How Do We Know What We Know?

What is Empirical Social Research?

Fit the Question You Want to Answer With a Type of Social Research

Steps in the Research Process

What have you learned?

Applying what you learned.

Chapter 2: Planning a Study

Picking a Study Topic

Conducting a Review Past Studies

Focusing on a Research Question

The Research Proposal

Chapter 3: Becoming an Ethical Researcher

The Ethical Imperative

Scientific Misconduct

Ethical Issues Involving Research Participants

Ethics and the Sponsors of Research

Politics of Research

Value-Free and Objective Research

Chapter 4: Sampling, How to select a few to represent the many

How and Why do Samples Work?

Focusing on at a specific group: four types of non-random samples

Coming to Conclusions about Large Populations

Three Specialized Sampling Techniques

Inferences from a Sample to a Population

What Have You Learned?

Chapter 5: Measuring Social Life, How Many? How Much? What Type?

Why Measure?

Making Aspects of the Social World Visible

Measuring with Numbers or Words

How to Create Good Measures: Reliability and Validity

A Guide to Quantitative Measures

How to create an Index

How to create a Scale

What have you Learned?

Chapter 6: The Survey: Asking People Questions

What is a Social Survey?

How to Conduct a Survey

Writing Good Survey Questions

Effective Questionnaire Design Tips

Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Survey Formats

Survey Interviewing

Chapter 7: The Experiment

Doing Experiments in Everyday Life

What Questions Can You Answer with the Experimental Method?

Why Assign People Randomly?

Do You Speak the Language of Experimental Design?

Experimental Validity Inside and Out

What You Can See In Experimental Results with Comparison

How to be Ethical in Experiments
What did you Learn?

Chapter 8: Research With Non-Reactive Measures

Analyzing Physical Evidence for Clues About Social Life

Revealing the Content Buried Within Communication Messages

Mining Existing Statistical Sources to Answer New Questions

Answering New Questions Using Survey Data Collected by Others

Conducting Ethical Non-Reactive Research

Chapter 9: Making Sense of the Numbers

What to do once you have the numbers

How to Describe Quantitative Results

Inferring from Statistics


Chapter 10: Observing People in Natural Settings

What is Field Research?

Studying People in the Field

Preparing For a Field Study

Starting the Research Project

Being in the Field

Strategies for Success in the Field

Observing and Collecting Data

The Field Research Interview

Leaving the Field

Writing the Field Research Report

Ethics and the Field Researcher

Focus Groups

Chapter 11: Looking at the Past and Across Cultures

What is Historical-Comparative Research?

How to do a Historical-Comparative Research Study

Researching the Past

Research to Compare Across Cultures

Being an Ethical H-C Researcher

Chapter 12: Writing A Research Report

Why Write a Report?

The Writing Process

The Quantitative Research Report

The Qualitative Research Report

The Research Proposal

Undergraduate Research


1. Sample Annotated Research Paper

2. Leading Academic Journals by Subject

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