Understanding and Evaluating Research: A Critical Guide shows students how to be critical consumers of research and to appreciate the power of methodology as it shapes the research question, the use of theory in the study, the methods used, and how the outcomes are reported. The book starts with what it means to be a critical and uncritical reader of research, followed by a detailed chapter on methodology, and then proceeds to a discussion of each component of a research article as it is informed by the methodology. The book encourages readers to select an article from their discipline, learning along the way how to assess each component of the article and come to a judgment of its rigor or quality as a scholarly report.
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About the Author
Dr. Sue L. T. Mc Gregor (Professor Emerita) is a Canadian home economist (more than 45 years) recently retired from Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax Nova Scotia. She was one of the lead architects for the interuniversity doctoral program in educational studies, serving as its inaugural Coordinator. She has a keen interest in home economics philosophy, transdisciplinarity, and consumer studies. She is a The Atlas Fellow (transdisciplinarity), a Docent in Home Economics at the University of Helsinki, the Marjorie M. Brown Distinguished Professor (home economics leadership), the Karpatkin International Consumer Fellow, and she received the TOPACE International Award (Berlin) for distinguished international consumer scholar. Affiliated with 20 professional journals, she has 160 peer-reviewed publications, 60 book chapters, 10 monographs, and four books. She has delivered 27 keynotes and invited talks in 12 countries. Dr. Mc Gregor is Principal Consultant for The Mc Gregor Consulting Group (1991) http://www.consultmcgregor.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Table of Contents
Preface Acknowledgements About the AuthorPART I • INTRODUCTIONChapter 1 • Critical Research Literacy Introduction to the Book Research Literacy Defined Benefits of Research Literacy Critical Research Literacy Uncritical Readings of Research Critically and Uncritically Reading Research Chapter Summary Review and Discussion QuestionsPART II • PHILOSOPHICAL AND THEORETICAL ASPECTS OF RESEARCHChapter 2 • Research Methodologies Introduction Conceptual Confusion, Slippage, and Clarity Methodological Approach Used in this Book Philosophical Axioms Positivism and Postpositivism Empirical, Interpretive, and Critical Methodologies Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Methods Methodologies Research Methodology and Research Question Alignment Writing the Research Methodology Section of a Paper Chapter Summary Review and Discussion QuestionsChapter 3 • Conceptual Frameworks, Theories, and Models Introduction Role of Theory in Research Inquiries Concepts and Constructs Conceptual Frameworks Theories Writing the Theoretical or Conceptual Framework Section of a Paper Models Chapter Summary Review and Discussion QuestionsPART III • ORIENTING AND SUPPORTIVE ELEMENTS OF RESEARCHChapter 4 • Orienting and Supportive Elements of a Journal Article Introduction Authors' Names, Credentials, and Affiliations Article Title Abstracts Keywords References Footnotes and Endnotes Appendices Acknowledgements Biographies Chapter Summary Review and Discussion QuestionsChapter 5 • Peer-Reviewed Journals Introduction Journal Editor, Editorial Boards, and Facilitating Editors Peer Review Process Acceptance Rates Journal Impact Factors Journal Title Journal Volume, Issue, and Pagination Year of Publication and Article Placement in Issue Special Topic and Themed Issues Electronic Journals Open Access Journals Chapter Summary Review and Discussion QuestionsPART IV • RESEARCH JUSTIFICATIONS, AUGMENTATION, AND RATIONALESChapter 6 • Introduction and Research Questions Introduction Etymological Roots Opening Sentences and Opening Points in an Introduction Six Approaches to Writing Introductions Delimitations Chapter Summary Review and Discussion QuestionsChapter 7 • Literature Review Introduction Etymology and Definition of a Literature Review Purposes of a Literature Review When to Conduct a Literature Review Conducting a Literature Search Critically Reviewing the Collection of Literature Writing the Literature Review Section Characteristics of a Good Literature Review Technical Elements of Writing Effective Literature Review Sections Chapter Summary Review and Discussion QuestionsPART V • RESEARCH DESIGN AND RESEARCH METHODSChapter 8 • Overview of Research Design and Methods Introduction Etymology and Definition of Methods and Research Design Research Design Methods Integrity of Research Designs Technical Aspects of Reporting Methods Chapter Summary Review and Discussion QuestionsChapter 9 • Reporting Qualitative Research Methods Introduction Qualitative Emergent Research Designs Types of Qualitative Research Designs Methods Appropriate for Qualitative Research Qualitative Site Selection and Access Qualitative Sampling Researcher's Role Qualitative Ethical Considerations Qualitative Data Collection Qualitative Data Management, Security, and Storage Integrity of Qualitative Research Designs Qualitative Data Analysis Qualitative Study Limitations Chapter Summary Review and Discussion QuestionsChapter 10 • Reporting Quantitative Methods and Mixed Methods Research Introduction Quantitative Research Design Mixed Methods Research Design Chapter Summary Review and Discussion QuestionsPART VI • RESULTS AND FINDINGSChapter 11 • Statistical Literacy and Conventions Introduction History of Statistics Laws of Probability and Chance Statistical Literacy Types of Statistical Data Statistical Variables Experimental and Nonexperimental Research Chapter Summary Review and Discussion QuestionsChapter 12 • Descriptive and Inferential Statistics Introduction Basic Differences Between Descriptive and Inferential Statistics Descriptive Statistics Association and Causation Inferential Statistics Conclusion Chapter Summary Review and Discussion QuestionsChapter 13 • Results and Findings Introduction Distinguishing Between Results and Findings Purpose of Results or Findings Section Reporting Qualitative Findings Reporting Quantitative Results Reporting Mixed Methods Results and Findings Conclusions: Unique Challenges of these Approaches Chapter Summary Review and Discussion QuestionsPART VII • DISCUSSION, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONSChapter 14 • Discussion Introduction Discussion Defined Discussion Relative to Results and Findings Purpose of Discussion Discussion and the Concept of Significance Fundamental Questions to Address in the Discussion Limitations Organizing the Discussion Section Staying Focused and On Topic Ensuring Strong and Responsible Discussions Technical Strategies for Discussion Sections Chapter Summary Review and Discussion QuestionsChapter 15 • Conclusions Introduction Conclusion Defined Relating Conclusions to Discussion and Summaries Purpose of Conclusions Closing Strategies for Effective Conclusions Things to Avoid in the Conclusions Section Technical Strategies for Writing Effective Conclusions Chapter Summary Review and Discussion QuestionsChapter 16 • Recommendations Introduction Recommend Defined Logical Connections Informing Recommendations Research Versus Nonresearch Recommendations Audiences for Recommendations Characteristics of Effective Recommendations Language for Communicating Recommendations Crafting and Organizing Effective Recommendations Technical Strategies for Presenting Recommendations Chapter Summary Review and Discussion QuestionsPART VIII • ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAYS AND THEORETICAL PAPERSChapter 17 • Argumentative Essays: Position, Discussion, and Think-Piece Papers Introduction Argumentative Essays Comparing Position, Discussion, and Think-Piece Papers Format for Argumentative Papers Persuasive Writing and Rhetorical Appeals Deductive and Inductive Argumentation Logical Fallacies Chapter Summary Review and Discussion QuestionsChapter 18 • Conceptual and Theoretical Papers Introduction Chapter Caveats Purpose of Conceptual Versus Theoretical Papers Structural Elements of Conceptual and Theoretical Papers Elements of a Conceptual Paper Elements of a Theoretical Paper Stage of Theory Being Published in a Theoretical Paper Rigor in Conceptual and Theoretical Papers Chapter Summary Review and Discussion QuestionsAppendixReferencesIndex