Real World Research

by ;
Edition: 4th
Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2016-01-19
Publisher(s): Wiley
  • Free Shipping Icon

    Free Shipping on all Orders Over $35!*

    *excludes Marketplace items.

List Price: $114.08

Buy New

Usually Ships in 3-4 Business Days

Rent Textbook

Select for Price
There was a problem. Please try again later.

Rent Digital

Online: 150 Days access
Downloadable: 150 Days
Online: 1825 Days access
Downloadable: Lifetime Access

Used Textbook

We're Sorry
Sold Out

This item is being sold by an Individual Seller and will not ship from the Online Bookstore's warehouse. The Seller must confirm the order within two business days. If the Seller refuses to sell or fails to confirm within this time frame, then the order is cancelled.

Please be sure to read the Description offered by the Seller.


Real World Research provides a clear route-map of the various steps needed to carry out a piece of applied research to a high professional standard.  It is accessible to those without a social science background while providing rigorous and fully up-to-date coverage of contemporary issues and debates.  It brings together materials and approaches from different social science disciplines, seeing value in both quantitative and qualitative approaches, as well as their combination in mixed-method designs.

Author Biography

Colin Robson is a Professor in the Centres for Applied Childhood Studies and Evaluation Studies at Huddersfield University, and chief consultant to a major international project on the education of children with disabilities, difficulties and disadvantages, OECD, Paris. He is the author of the bestselling Real World Research.

Table of Contents

Preface xvii

Ways of using the book xxi

The main steps when carrying out a project xxiii


Keeping your own project journal 1

Chapter 1 Introduction 3

What is real world research? 3

Design matters 5

Evaluation and change 6

The audience for this book 7

Returning to the real world 10

Beginning the journey 12

Chapter 2 Approaches to social research 14

Introduction 14

What is science? 15

Postmodernism and extreme relativist approaches 17

The two traditions: quantitative and qualitative social research 18

The quantitative paradigm 20

The qualitative paradigm 24

Paradigms and research questions 26

A pragmatic approach 28

Multi]strategy research designs 30

Realism and real world research 30

The purposes of research 39

Practical value of the theoretical material covered in the chapter 40


Chapter 3 Developing your ideas 45

Introduction 45

Deciding on the focus 47

Searching and reviewing the literature 52

Research questions 59

Developing your research question(s) 63

The place of theory 66

Chapter 4 General design issues 71

Introduction 71

A framework for research design 72

Getting a feel for design issues 75

Choosing a research design strategy 75

Establishing trustworthiness 78

Chapter 5 Desk-based research 82

Introduction 82

Types of desk]based research 83

Doing a literature review as a desk]based project 88

The main steps when carrying out a literature review as a desk-based project 89

Doing a systematic review 93

Doing realist reviews 97

In summary 100

Chapter 6 Fixed designs 101

Introduction 101

General features of fixed designs 103

Establishing trustworthiness in fixed design research 104

True experiments 121

Designs involving matching 123

Quasi]experiments 126

Single]case experiments 134

Non]experimental fixed designs 139

Sample size in fixed designs 144

Chapter 7 Flexible designs 145

Introduction 145

General features of flexible designs 146

Research traditions in qualitative research 149

Case studies 150

Ethnographic studies 156

Grounded theory studies 161

Other traditions 165

Sampling in flexible designs 166

Establishing trustworthiness in flexible design research 168

Chapter 8 Multi-strategy (mixed method) designs 174

Introduction 174

The quantitative]qualitative incompatibility thesis 175

The mixed methods movement 176

Types of multi]strategy designs 177

Designing and carrying out multi]strategy research 180

Pragmatism, realism or ‘anything goes’? 183

Dealing with discrepancies in findings 184

Chapter 9 Designs for particular purposes: evaluation, action and change 187

Introduction 187

Evaluation research 187

Action research 199

Intervention and change 203

Researchers and practitioners 204

Chapter 10 Ethical and political considerations 205

Introduction 205

Ethical codes and guidelines 208

Ethical issues 209

Researcher safety and risk 220

Working with vulnerable groups 222

General ethical responsibilities 229

Ethical review boards and committees 231

Politics and real world research 235

Sexism, racism and social research 239


Selecting the method(s) 241

Chapter 11 Surveys and questionnaires 243

Introduction 243

Designing surveys 245

Carrying out a sample survey 256

Designing and using a questionnaire 258

Diaries 273

Sampling in surveys – and elsewhere 276

Probability samples 277

Non]probability samples 279

Chapter 12 Interviews and focus groups 284

Introduction 284

Types and styles of interviews 285

General advice for interviewers 287

Content of the interview 288

Carrying out different types of interview 290

Focus groups 298

Dealing with interview data 305

Skills in interviewing 306

Chapter 13 Tests and scales 307

Introduction 307

Measurement scales 307

Other scaling techniques 315

Using existing tests and scales 316

Developing your own test 317

Chapter 14 Observational methods 319

Introduction 319

Observation in real world research 321

Approaches to observation 322

Participant observation 323

Getting started as a participant observer 327

Structured observation 332

Deciding on a coding scheme 335

The use of existing coding schemes 335

Developing your own scheme 337

Coding sequences of behaviour 338

Reliability and structured observation 343

Chapter 15 Additional methods of data collection 346

Introduction 346

Unobtrusive measures 347

Content analysis of documents 349

Secondary data analysis 359

Introduction to a range of more specialist techniques 361

Internet]based research 377

Feminist research methods 382

Using multiple methods 383

Chapter 16 Writing a project proposal 385

Introduction 385

How to recognize a good proposal 386

The content of a research proposal 387

The problem of pre]specifying flexible design studies 391

Shortcomings of unsuccessful proposals 391

Sources of funding 392


Arranging the practicalities 395


Collecting the data 403

Analysing and interpreting data 404

Realist analysis and interpretation 405

Preparing for analysis 406

Analysis or interpretation? 408

Quantitative and qualitative data – and their integration in multi]strategy designs 408

Chapter 17 The analysis and interpretation of quantitative data 409

Introduction 409

Creating a data set 411

Starting data analysis 414

Exploring the data set 416

Exploring relationships between two variables 425

Exploring relationships among three or more variables 433

Analysing differences 438

Quantitative analysis and different fixed design research strategies 452

Chapter 18 The analysis and interpretation of qualitative data 459

Introduction 459

Types of qualitative analysis 460

Using the computer for qualitative data analysis 464

Dealing with the quantity of qualitative data 466

Thematic coding analysis 467

Data analysis in grounded theory studies 481

Alternative approaches to qualitative analysis 484

Integrating qualitative and quantitative data

in multi]strategy designs 484

Chapter 19 Reporting, disseminating and moving forward 487

Introduction 487

Reporting what you have found 488

Ethics and reporting 489

Reporting fixed design research 491

The scientific journal format 492

Reporting flexible design studies 493

Reporting on multi]strategy design studies 495

Reporting on case studies 495

Reporting on literature reviews 496

Writing for non]academic audiences – the technical report 497

Alternative forms of presentation 500

Writing skills 502

Where next? 506

Appendix A: Using specialist software for quantitative analysis 509

Appendix B: Using specialist software for qualitative analysis 513

Glossary Visit the website to view the Glossary,

References and author index Visit the website to view the References and Author Index,

Subject Index 517

An electronic version of this book is available through VitalSource.

This book is viewable on PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and most smartphones.

By purchasing, you will be able to view this book online, as well as download it, for the chosen number of days.

A downloadable version of this book is available through the eCampus Reader or compatible Adobe readers.

Applications are available on iOS, Android, PC, Mac, and Windows Mobile platforms.

Please view the compatibility matrix prior to purchase.