Research Methods for Public Administrators 2014
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Research Methods for Public Administrators 2014

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As in previous editions, this highly practical book is written with beginning MPA students and practitioners in mind. It focuses on the interpretation and use of research findings, not just number crunching. It covers the entire research process, from initial questions to final report, in clear, jargon-free language, and includes numerous easy-to-understand examples and exercises that provide opportunities for concrete applications of the concepts. It is solidly grounded in public administration and recognizes both the promise and limitations of research within a political environment. Key features of the book: --It is highly practical and written to accommodate a mix of readers: those who want to become analysts, managers who will oversee research contracts, and citizens who need to know whether to believe the facts and data they read in today's news; --It minimizes the use of jargon and explains difficult concepts in clear language. Plentiful end-of-chapter exercises provide opportunities for concrete application of the concepts; --Key points are highlighted as "takeaway lessons" so readers are reminded about what really matters. The tough questions to ask are suggested in every chapter; --Examples and applications are used throughout the book to illustrate concepts and add topical interest; --It covers the entire research process, from initial questions to the final report. This book demystifies and makes practical the research every public administrator and policy analyst needs to do the job well. Online instructor's materials, including a Test Bank, PowerPoint slides, and a Survey and Documental Analysis (SDA) guide, are also available to adopters.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 350 pages
  • 190.5 x 231.14 x 20.32mm | 612.35g
  • Taylor & Francis Inc
  • M.E. Sharpe
  • Armonk, United States
  • English
  • Revised
  • 3rd Revised edition
  • black & white illustrations, black & white tables
  • 0765637146
  • 9780765637147
  • 2,207,162

About Gail Johnson

Gail Johnson has worked in several public agencies, including the U.S. Government Accountability Office and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Her work with GAO included reports about management of federal agencies, transforming the civil service, and drug use among youth. She has taught in MPA programs for more than fifteen years, worked as consultant with several local governments, and helped design several research workshops for The World Bank. She recently published Trailblazing Governors: Six Remarkable Women, which tells the stories of six of the first generation of women governors. She maintains a blog, Research Demystified, which explores social science research in the context of politics, policy, public administration, program evaluation, and measuring for results and advocacy.show more

Review quote

"Research Methods for Public Administrators is presented in a clear and comprehensible fashion which enhances the ability of even those with limited knowledge of research methods to understand the topic. The book is well structured, covers the topic with a minimum of jargon, and is designed to develop the critical thinking skills of students. Many examples of research concepts that are relevant to public administrators make the book extremely useful for students and practitioners alike." -- William Leavitt, Old Dominion University "Research Methods for Public Administrators is extremely remarkable as it treats both qualitative and quantitative research methods in a comprehensive manner without compromising clarity and readability. The rare combination of broad coverage and reader-friendliness really makes this book an excellent resource for students learning basic research tools." -- Chih-Wei Hsieh, University of New Mexico "Finally we have an approachable methods book. Gail Johnson's practitioner background helps her to discuss a very complex topic, research methods, in an understandable and practical manner. While covering the basics of research design and statistics, she also gives attention to the important topic of communicating research findings. Additionally, Johnson ties research methods to its uses in the public sector. This book is well suited for a variety of public administration programs, but it is particularly useful for those with many in-service students." -- Jami Taylor, University of Toledo "This is the consummate methods survey text for public administration and policy study, somehow improved in the new edition over already superlative previous ones. In the new edition, conceptual frames continue to be covered with even greater nuance and depth--topics such as policy and program complexity, complex causation, logic modeling, the inter-relation of normative and descriptive/empirical questions in public sector research, research ethics, and the refinement of research questions in these contexts, for instance translating research questions into hypotheses. Most highly recommended!" -- Mario Rivera, University of New Mexico "This textbook offers a comprehensive yet understandable overview of the process of research and its use in the field of public administration. The author's focus on how to use and interpret research findings is a welcome addition to the topic and the real-world exercises provide students with practical application of research skills essential for public managers. A great textbook for MPA students!" -- Pamela T. Dunning, Troy Universityshow more

Table of contents

List of Illustrations Preface and Acknowledgments 1. Introduction: Research Methods for Public Administrators Overview Goals: Research as a Critical Thinking Tool Research in the Public Sector What Is Research? Types of Research Ethics and Principles of Good Research Overview of This Book Exercises 2. Basic Research Concepts Overview The Secret Language of Social Science Theory Hypothesis in Its Many Forms Variables Values Levels of Measurement Determining Causality Independent and Dependent Variables Control Variables Direction of Relationships Program Evaluation: Research in the Public Sector Using Models for a Holistic View of Relationships The Logic Model Applying the Logic Model Conclusion Exercises 3. What Is the Question? Overview Determining the Research Question Learning from Others Engaging the Stakeholders Working Together Types of Questions Descriptive Questions Normative Questions Relationship Questions Conclusion Exercises 4. Identifying Measures and Measurement Strategy Overview Defining Key Terms Conceptual Definitions Operational Definitions Setting Boundaries Valid and Reliable Measures Validity Reliability Why Measurement Matters Conclusion Exercises 5. Designs for Research: The Xs and Os Framework Overview Designing an Experiment Applying the Design Elements: The Xs and Os Framework Nonexperimental Design Quasi-Experimental Design Classic Experimental Design Design Variations Using Statistical Controls to Create Comparison Groups Longitudinal Studies Internal Validity Why Validity Matters External Validity Conclusion Exercises 6. Other Research Approaches Overview Secondary Analysis of Data Evaluation Synthesis (Meta-Analysis) Content Analysis Survey Research Case Studies Cost-Benefit Analysis Conclusion Exercises 7. Data Collection I: Available Data and Observation Overview Data Collection: The Degree of Structure Available Data Data Collection Instruments Observation Obtrusive and Unobtrusive Data Collection The Design Matrix Conclusion Exercises 8. Data Collection II: Interviews and Focus Groups Overview General Guidelines About Choosing the Appropriate Method Encouraging Participation In-Person Interviews Focus Groups Other Group Data Collection: Expert Panels, Public Hearings Conclusion Exercises 9. Data Collection III: Surveys Overview Basic Methods Response Rates Telephone Surveys Mail Surveys Cyber-Research: E-mail and Web-Based Surveys Developing Closed-Ended Questions Using One-Way and Two-Way Intensity Scales Ranking Questions Demographic Questions Conclusion Exercises 10. Sampling Demystified Overview Sampling Jargon Random and Nonrandom Samples Random Samples Nonrandom Samples Random Samples: The Options Simple Random Sample Systematic Random Sample Stratified Random Sample Proportional Stratified Sample Disproportionate Stratified Sample Cluster Sample Nonrandom Samples: The Options Determining Sample Size Nonsampling Errors Conclusion Exercises 11. Qualitative Data Analysis Overview Analyzing Qualitative Data Identifying Themes and Quotes Working with Qualitative Data Conclusion Exercises 12. Data Analysis for Description Overview Simple Descriptive Statistics in Public Administration Commonly Used Descriptive Statistics Counts Percents Rates Ratios Rates of Change Distributions Measures of Central Tendency Which Measure to Use? Comparison of Means Measures of Dispersion Conclusion Exercises 13. Analyzing Survey Scales Overview Handling Exits and the Middle of a Five-Point Scale Setting Benchmarks and Extreme Analysis Handling the Middle Category in One-Way Intensity Scales Should Means Be Used with Nominal and Ordinal Scales? The Analytical Tool: Cross Tabulations Conclusion Exercises 14. Data Analysis: Exploring Relationships Overview Using Crosstabs to Examine Relationships Controlling for a Third Variable Exploring Relationships: Comparison of Means and Medians Measures of Association Frequently Used Measures of Association Working with Interval or Ratio Data Conclusion Exercises 15. Data Analysis: Regression Overview Bivariate Regression: Key Elements Using Bivariate Regression Analysis: Sunshine and Tourism Multiple Regression Beta Weights: Relative Predictive Strength Regression in the News Why Did the Violent Crime Rate Drop After 1991? Conclusion Exercises 16. Data Analysis Using Inferential Statistics Overview Statistical Significance: Basic Concepts The Logic of Statistical Significance Testing Errors in Tests for Statistical Significance Common Tests for Statistical Significance Chi-Square t-Tests: Analyzing Difference in Means Analysis of Variance Tests for Statistical Significance in Regression Analysis Reporting Results of Statistical Significance Population Estimates and Confidence Intervals Conclusion Exercises 17. Communicating Research Results Overview Effectively Reporting Results Reporting Data General Guide for Communicating Research Results Guide for Writing an Executive Summary Guide for Writing a Formal Report Guide for Using Charts and Tables Guide for Oral Presentations Presenting Unwelcome Information Making Sense of Research Results Conclusion Exercises 18. Conclusion: Research at the Intersection of Politics and Administration Overview The Research Process Revisited Planning Doing Reporting Ethics and Social Justice Managing Research Projects Assessing Credibility The Limitations of Science The Intersection of Research, Politics, and Administration Closing Observations Exercises Appendix A. Mathematical Formulas for Selected Statistics Appendix B. Statistics as a Second Language Appendix C. Bibliography Appendix D. Logic Model Template Appendix E. The Generic Design Matrix Index About the Authorshow more

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