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Research Methods in Practice


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Table of Contents

PART I: FOUNDATIONS 1. Research in the Real World 2. Theory and Models 3. Qualitative Research PART II: STRATEGIES FOR DESCRIPTION 4. Measurement 5. Sampling 6. Secondary Data 7. Surveys and Other Primary Data PART III: STATISTICAL TOOLS AND THEIR INTERPRETATION 8. Making Sense of the Numbers 9. Making Sense of Inferential Statistics 10. Making Sense of Multivariate Statistics PART IV: STRATEGIES FOR CAUSATION 11. Causation 12. Observational Studies With Control Variables 13.Multiple Regression to Disentangle Causal Effects 14. Randomized Experiments 15. Natural and Quasi Experiments PART V: CONTEXT AND COMMUNICATION 16. The Politics, Production, and Ethics of Research 17. How to Find, Review and Present Research

About the Author

Dahlia K. Remler is Professor at the School of Public Affairs, Baruch College, and the Department of Economics, Graduate Center, both of the City University of New York. She is also a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Dahlia has been in an unusual mix of disciplinary and interdisciplinary settings. She received a BS in electrical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, a DPhil in physical chemistry from Oxford University-while a Marshall Scholar-and a PhD in economics from Harvard University. During the Clinton administration's health care reform efforts, Dahlia held a fellowship at the Brookings Institution to finish her dissertation on health care cost containment. She then held a postdoctoral research fellowship at Harvard Medical School, followed by assistant professorships at Tulane's and Columbia's Schools of Public Health, prior to joining the faculty at Baruch. She enjoys comparing and contrasting how different disciplines see the same issues. Dahlia has published widely in a variety of areas in health care policy, including health care cost containment, information technology in health care, cigarette tax regressivity, simulation methods for health insurance take-up, and health insurance and health care markets. She has also recently started working on higher education and media issues. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Health Affairs, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the American Journal of Public Health, Medical Care Research and Review, and many other journals. She blogs on health care policy, higher education and other topics at Dahlia lives with her husband, Howard, in New York City, where they enjoy the city's theaters, restaurants, and parks-and Dahlia enjoys being a complete amateur dancer in some of the city's superb dance studios. Gregg G. Van Ryzin is Professor at the School of Public Affairs and Administration, Rutgers University-Newark. He received his BA in geography from Columbia University and his PhD in psychology from the City University of New York. During his doctoral training, he worked as a planner for a nonprofit housing and community development organization in New York City, and he completed his dissertation on low income housing for the elderly in Detroit. He next worked in Washington, D.C., for ICF Inc. and later Westat, Inc. on surveys and program evaluations for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and other federal agencies. In 1995, he joined the faculty of the School of Public Affairs, Baruch College, where he directed their Survey Research Unit for 8 years. In that role, he helped develop and direct the New York City Community Health Survey, a large-scale behavioral health survey for the city's health department, and also played a key role in shaping and conducting the city's survey of satisfaction with government services. He has spent time in Madrid, collaborating with researchers there on the analysis of surveys about public attitudes toward Spanish government policy. Gregg has published many scholarly articles on housing and welfare programs, survey and evaluation methods, and public opinion about government services and institutions. His work has appeared in the International Review of Administrative Sciences, the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, the Journal of Urban Affairs, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Public Administration Review, Public Management Review, Public Performance and Management Review, Urban Affairs Review, and other journals. Gregg lives in New York City with his wife, Ada (a history professor at NYU), and their daughters Alina and Lucia. They enjoy life in their Greenwich Village neighborhood, escaping on occasion to Spain, Miami, Maine, Cuba, and other interesting places in the world.


Research Methods in Practice offers a combination of academic weight, coupled clarity and an easy to follow style that will allow students and practitioners to take their research skills to a level otherwise considered unrealistic. If students are looking to purchase one text that will provide sound coverage of research methods coupled with examples that provide clarity of application this is it.

The text is very well organized. Often reading research methods texts can lead to more confusion than the student originally had. This text, by contrast is presented in a clear, logical, tool box approach.

-- Matthew Cooper

Remler and Van Ryzin have filled a void that has too long complicated the job of teaching statistical methods and research design to graduate students of applied social science and public policy.

I believe this is the best text available for teaching students the fundamentals of research design and statistics, and introducing them to the difficulties inherent in evaluation research and causal inference.

-- Dave E. Marcotte

What do you get when you cross writings from an electrical engineering-health economist (Dahlia Remler) with a psychologist-geographer (Gregg Van Ryzin)? An eclectic array of fundamental ideas on research portrayed and measured across multidisciplinary domains, i.e., Research Methods in Practice. Just about every topic you might consider for developing theory and building research questions, to formulating knowledge and identifying relevant methods is discussed. Accordingly, experimental approaches, data analyses, and research methods are exposed to the reader in a clear, concise fashion.

Research Methods in Practice is the go-to book for that quick start in learning how to do research.-- Gary Langford
The strengths of this text include the many contemporary references to current events, the language and graphics. The strength is also the simplicity (which is effective) of research, that we do it daily and that it should not be seen as a laborious task (although it may be), but rather as a necessary part of whatever we plan to do in life as scholars, researchers, civil servants, doctors, lawyers, social workers, etc. The ease of applicability of research and the research process as a deliberate, strategic, systematic way to gather credible and useable data/information is one of the most effective aspects of the textbook. -- Khadijah O. Miller

This is a well-organized book that deals with a good number of issues. It develops the discussion into an appropriate depth for the students on undergraduate and post graduate programmes without confusion.

[This book] gives the student the opportunity to see things in a different way from the standard texts.

-- Sue Lillyman

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