This book is a starter ‘DIY’ text for practitioners who are looking to conduct evaluation studies and research as part of their own professional practice.

The growing emphasis on evidence-based practice means that there is an increasing need for practitioners to have at least a basic understanding of research, be aware of methodological pitfalls and to be updated on new methods. This book provides a practical, user-friendly guide to social science research methods for professionals who have benefited from little, if any, formal research methods training but find themselves in a role that requires them to read and understand complex research findings and carry out their own research as part of their professional practice.

Practical Research and Evaluation is aimed at practitioners working in education, health, social care and community work. Many in this market are non-graduates or are those whose study did not contain a research element, but are required to know how research works. This book has three main aims which will benefit this audience – to enable readers to carry out small-scale research projects of their own, provide them with the basic understanding necessary to commission research, and enable them to better understand and evaluate critically research reports.

This book is designed specifically for ‘Do-it-Yourself’ researchers working in the public or voluntary sectors. It is accessible and relevant to practitioners, uses non-technical language wherever possible and employs grounded examples, practical tips, checklists and readings lists throughout.

Introduction to Research and Evaluation Basics

Introduction to Research and Evaluation Basics

LenaDahlberg and ColinMcCaig

By the End of This Chapter, You Should Have an Understanding of:

  • what characterises research;
  • the difference between basic and applied research;
  • different types of evaluations;
  • what characterises action research;
  • what characterises development work;
  • what empirical and non-empirical research is;
  • the differences between theoretical, descriptive and explorative research;
  • inductive and deductive approaches to research;
  • the differences between qualitative and quantitative research.


This chapter introduces the central themes ...

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