Introduction

Many research topics are published daily, detailing the recent developments across various niches.

According to data from a global S&E publishing outfit Scopus, the rate of publications has exceeded the 4% annual average since 2008, and new publications have risen from 1.8million articles to 2.6million articles.

Based on these figures, it would be tasking for researchers to level up because of the amount of work being released in their areas of interest if they are inadequately equipped with the appropriate information.

To this end, researchers need to be familiar with credible literature across various disciplines and majorly in their area of expertise to equip themselves with the right information.

This includes the discovery of new research areas and future research opportunities that may arise.

Like the boy scout motto “Be Prepared,” researchers need to know and identify current trends in their field by constantly reviewing current literature.

By doing so, they will recognize and identify gaps in the materials.

The objective review of such and highlighting questions as they occur might be the path to a new research idea.

Keeping abreast with new literature also inspires researchers with ideas for which methodologies to use, what resources are already freely available for them to work with, and what limitations to address in their research.

1. Internet, Phone, Mail, and Mixed-Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method

This book is a classic survey design guide that adapts well to this present age of digital technology. The focus of Dillman’s classic text from the first to the fourth edition is to show newbies and professionals in the research writing space how to plan and conduct surveys using various tools/techniques.

Whatever side of the divide researchers identify with, from traditional to the more contemporary researcher, this book adopts an integrative approach suited for the conservative to the more liberal folks willing to try new methods.

These techniques are elaborated further with many examples, theories, and practical, real-life case studies reviewed in the book.

The highlights of the book are;

  • Strategies and techniques to apply for each survey, the mode of design, and ways to apply it effectively are also depicted in the text.
  • Appropriate occasions suited to the use of either mail, telephone, or internet surveys and ways to achieve optimum results.
  • Fail-proof methods to accelerate response rates.
  • A guide on how to garner quality feedback from the available methods is highlighted in the book.
  • Roadmaps for constructing questionnaires effectively while paying attention to the layout.
  • The impact of sponsorship on the response turnaround time of surveys.
  • The ways to use functionalities provided by mass-used media with a focus on interactivity and the layout of aural and visual stimuli.

The author has sought to keep up with the latest trends by constantly updating the information, which has led to the production of 4 editions, each one being an improved version of the previous.

Worthy of note is the tailored design concept adopted by the authors to keep the surveys appealing and relevant to their target audience without putting any pressure on the respondents.

About The Author

Don A. Dillman is a Regents Professor, Department of Sociology, and Deputy Director for Research and Development in the Social and Economic Sciences Research Center (SESRC) at Washington State University in Pullman. He is known globally as a major voice in modern mail, phone, and internet survey techniques.

The first publication in 1978 was the pioneer in providing detailed methods for carrying out surveys.

His works earned him the 2000 Roger Herriot Award for innovation in federal statistics.

Members of his team who also researched the mixed mode methods received the American Association for Public Opinion Research Warren J. Mitofsky Innovators Award for creating and testing a web-push data collection methodology that is now used worldwide for censuses and other surveys relevant to public policy.

Jolene Smyth, Ph.D. an associate professor in the Survey research and methodology program in the sociology department and serves as the director of the bureau of social research at the University of Nebraska -Lincoln.

Leah Christian, Ph.D. and co-author of the “Tailored Design Method,” is a Director in Research Methods at Nielsen specializing in panel recruitment and maintenance.

 2. Designing Quality Survey Questions

Surveys are essential to social and behavioral research. With the rise of various web-based resources, surveys are considered one of the least expensive ways to gather data.

The survey mode can influence the quality of feedback received.

Designing Quality Survey Questions, by Sheila B.Robinson and Kimberly Firth Leonard, provide a step-by-step guide to readers on creating top-quality, easy-to-understand survey questions, which would evoke in-depth insight and data when the research questions are administered.

Challenges like how to design engaging questions which would eliminate survey apathy and techniques for crafting demographic questions are also addressed in this book.

Equipped with real-life case studies and lessons learned are part of the highlights of the literature. Assessments are made available at the end of the book to help readers ascertain their true understanding of the topic,

About The Author

Sheila B. Robinson, Ed.D is an experienced educator specializing in K12 public education. Her survey design journey began with assessment design in K12 public education.

She is an associate professor of graduate courses in program evaluation and professional development design and evaluation.

An active member of the American Evaluation Association (AEA), Sheila is past chair of AEA’s Pre-K12 Educational Evaluation Topical Interest Group, Lead Curator for AEA’s blog Tip-a-Day-by and Evaluators, and AEA’s coordinator for Potent Presentations Initiative.

Kimberly Firth Leonard, MPA, has taught others about surveys for over 10 years, focusing primarily on the context of program evaluation. Currently the Senior Evaluation Officer at the Oregon Community Foundation, she manages evaluations of various grant-making initiatives, including at least one survey-based data collection component.

3. The Coding Manual for Qualitative Researchers

The coding manual for qualitative researchers is an extremely useful text by world-renowned expert Johnny Saldaña. It highlights the steps to achieving qualitative coding and provides clear, insightful guidance for qualitative researchers at different stages in their research journey.

He has produced up to 4 editions of this book, with the fourth edition being an updated version of all the previous publications.

This focuses specifically on qualitative coding data, a core but widely ignored skill that researchers and students need to identify patterns and understand their data for effective, successful analysis.

In his book, Saladan presents a wide range of coding options amplifying their advantages and disadvantages to guide researchers in identifying the most suitable approach for their work. Real-life perspectives further reinforce this.

The text is suitable for newbies and seasoned gurus in the research field, and the new additions in the fourth edition make it a vital point of reference for qualitative analysts.

About The Author

Johnny Saldaña is a Professor Emeritus from Arizona State University’s (ASU) School of Film, Dance, and Theatre in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. He is also the author of various credible resources in qualitative research and Data Analysis.

His works have been cited in over 16,000 publications and referenced globally in more than 130 countries across various niches and industries.

Saldaña’s research in genres like qualitative inquiry, data analysis, and performance ethnography has received numerous awards from credible bodies across America.

4. Survey Scales: A Guide to Development, Analysis, and Reporting

This book is a great guide for researchers and students, as it clearly shows ways to create closed response survey scales that will accurately gather data on attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.

Clear guidelines to aid researchers in reviewing existing work for possible adaptation or adoption in a study or outrightly help them create their own through the conceptual framework are included in the text.

Survey scales show researchers how to create checklists, develop true/false variations, design response scales, conduct a fear factor analysis, and much more.

Clear advice is provided on how to craft tables and guides with illustrations showing not this/but examples across multiple disciplines.

One of the most striking qualities of this text is its engagement with standard validity theory.

About The Author

Dr. Robert L. Johnson is a Professor in the Department of Educational Studies at the University of South Carolina. His research focuses on classroom assessment ethics. His research has been published in journals on assessments and evaluations.

Grant B. Morgan is a Ph.D. holder and an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at Baylor University. His primary focus is methodological research on latent variable models, classification, and psychometrics. He has extensive experience developing and using survey scales.

5. Measurement Theory and Applications for the Social Sciences (Methodology in the Social Sciences)

Measurement Theory and Applications for Social Sciences by Deborah L.Bandalos is the text to have if you are seeking to answer questions like ;

  • What validity should evidence be examined to choose the most appropriate scale for a measurement situation?
  • How reliable is the evidence?

With clear illustrations and good examples from relevant and related disciplines, this book equips students and researchers to make accurate decisions on the selection, administration, scoring, interpretation, and development of measurement tools.

Essential measurement topics of scale development, analysis, credibility, item writing, and validity are addressed in this book.

End-of-chapter assessments are also provided to help readers gauge their understanding of the subject.

The personal anecdotes with which the author starts each chapter make it a fun and engaging read for such a serious topic.

About The Author

Deborah L. Bandalos, Ph.D., is a Professor and Director of the Assessment and Measurement Doctoral Program in the Department of Graduate Psychology at James Madison University. She teaches courses in exploratory factor analysis, measurement theory, and missing data methodologies.

Her research areas are primarily structural equation modeling and the effects of item wording changes in instrument development. She has also published books on structural equation modeling, exploratory factor analysis, and item and scale development.

She is an associate editor of Multivariate Behavioral Research and a past associate editor of Structural Equation Modeling. In addition, Dr. Bandalos serves on various editorial boards of Psychological Methods and Applied Measurement in Education. She was also elected 2019 President of the Society for Multivariate Experimental Psychology.

6. Designing and Conducting Survey Research: A Comprehensive Guide

Designing & Conducting Survey Research has evolved to become the standard reference for administering effective and tangible survey research since its first publication in 1992.

This third edition expands on the previous volumes and contains updated additional statistical techniques. The new reporting methods encourage accountability and feature user-friendly analysis methods.

Designing and Conducting Survey Research is a comprehensive and hands-on guide to sample survey research. It demystifies all the major elements of survey research. It also depicts how research methods can be applied in such diverse disciplines.

About The Author

Louis M. Rea is a Professor of City Planning and Director of the School of Public Administration and Urban Studies at San Diego State University. He has taught graduate courses in survey research, statistical analysis, and urban and fiscal problems. Louis has extensive research experience and is an established consultant to various municipal jurisdictions and private businesses.

Richard A. Parker I is a market research consultant and a professor in the School of Public Administration and Urban Studies at San Diego State University. He is a specialist in survey research across various industries and disciplines.

7. InterViews: Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing

This Third Edition of Brinkmann and Kvale’s InterViews: Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing provides the readers with a wholesome theoretical and practical insight into the critical factors that guarantee successful interviews.

The text provides the reasons for all the critical steps in interviewing and maps out the process for readers to adopt to achieve their research goals.

It is up to date with all the current developments in crafting qualitative interviews, and this third edition includes epistemological and ethical concerns in conducting interviews.

About The Author

Svend Brinkmann is a professor of psychology in the Department of Communication and Psychology at the University of Aalborg, Denmark. He is co-director of the Center for Qualitative Studies with Lene Tanggaard. His research is focused on philosophical, moral, and methodological challenges and concerns in psychology and other human and social sciences.

Steinar Kvale (1938-2008) passed in 2008.He was a Professor of educational psychology, director of the Centre of Qualitative Research at the University of Aarhus, and adjunct faculty at Saybrook Institute, San Francisco. He was passionate about the implications of continental philosophies such as phenomenology, hermeneutics, and dialectics for psychology and education and focused his research on these areas.

8. Surveys That Work: A Practical Guide for Designing and Running Better Surveys

Fowler Jr.’s bestselling Survey Research Methods present the current survey methodological knowledge. It offers a sound basis for reviewing and validating ways each aspect of a survey can determine precision, accuracy, and credibility. The Fifth edition is a comprehensive updated text that focuses on the growth of the internet and collection of data and the wide adoption of online surveys, and the decline in response rates from telephone surveys.

The author emphasizes the changes in the survey research world throughout the text. He shows how taking these into perspective can help researchers learn how to best use new and traditional options for collecting data.

In a nutshell, the book articulates the ideas behind survey designs and depicts how each component can influence the outcomes.

About The Author

Floyd J. Fowler Jr. graduated from Wesleyan University and received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1966. He has been a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Survey Research at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He is the author and co-author of textbooks on survey methods and numerous journals. Recently, he has focused on questions relating to study design and evaluation.

9. Focus Groups: A Practical Guide for Applied Research 

Focus Groups: A Practical Guide for Applied Research the fifth edition is the ultimate guide for readers on the process and techniques of carrying out focus group research. The author’s writing style makes the text engaging and easy to navigate. It offers theoretical and practical illustrations of the nitty-gritty of the focus group process and includes tips on avoiding problems.

The Fifth Edition is up to date with current and technological innovations in research.

The highlights include;

  • How to organize a focus group with analysis as one of the goals
  • The science behind hosting a focus group
  • Conducting multicultural and internet-based focus groups
  • Efficient strategies in planning the studies.
  • How to craft open-ended questions to gain note-worthy insights

Overall it is a hands-on book that equips researchers to hit the ground running.

About The Author

Richard Krueger is a professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota. He is recognized globally as an authority on focus group interviewing.

He has 25years of experience leading the University of Minnesota Extension Service evaluation team, with 10 years of teaching graduate courses in program evaluation and research methodology. An ex-president of the American Evaluation Association and a Qualitative Research Consultants Association member.

Mary Anne Casey, Ph.D., is an evaluation consultant at the international, national, state, and local levels on health, public policy, community development, agriculture, and the environment. Mary Anne has had the privilege of asking questions and listening and utilized this in solving the challenge of providing useful, enlightening results to clients. She enjoys analysis and has a knack for discovering the appropriate way to convey feedback.


  • Angela Kayode-Sanni
  • on 12 min read

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