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.

Research Methodologies

Learning Objectives

  • Appreciate the history of key methodological terms
  • Recognize the necessity of being able to defend any methodological choices made at the interface between philosophy and methods (methodologically responsible)
  • Distinguish clearly between methodology and methods (as used in this book)
  • Become familiar with the conceptual confusion, slippage, and clarity needed around three common terms: research paradigm, research methodology, and research tradition
  • Appreciate the methodological approach used in this book (see Table 2.1)
  • Explain the construct of philosophical axioms (epistemology, ontology, logic, and axiology)
  • Distinguish between positivistic and postpositivistic research paradigms
  • Compare and contrast empirical, interpretive, and critical research methodologies
  • Compare and contrast quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods methodologies
  • Explain why it is necessary to match research methodology with the research question
  • Understand the conventions for writing the research methodology section of a ...
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