These sources describe the research process from start to finish. For first timers, the sources help fill the gaps in your research experiences, giving you the data you need to successfully plan and implement a project. Experienced researchers can use these sources to review the big picture or to hone in on specific process steps to brush up on skills and expertise.



Babbie, Earl. The Practice of Social Research. Ninth Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thompson Learning, 2001.

Designed for students, this classic work provides in-depth coverage of social research methods. Its easy-to-navigate, multi-layered structure presents high-level overviews of content before delving into technical details. This work is of particular use in helping first-time researchers select and describe specific research methods and strategies. [Note: Check latest edition (10th?)]


Creswell, John W. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Thousands Oak, CA: Sage Publications, 2002.

This work presents an overall framework that structures the research design process for both new and experienced researchers. Its first three chapters (A Framework for Design, Review of the Literature, Writing Strategies and Ethical Considerations) clearly describe the preliminary work that should take place even before the proposal writing begins. Another useful section assists with the development of research questions (Research Questions and Hypotheses).


Bell, J. Doing Your Research Project: A Guide for First-Time Researchers in Education and Social Sciences. Third Edition. Buckingham: Open University Press, 1987.

This book explains the research process from start to finish in simple terms. It includes useful tips and checklists to keep beginners on track.


Patten, Mildred L. Understanding Research Methods: An Overview of the Essentials. Third Edition. Los Angeles: Pyrczak Publishing, 2002.

Organized in short sections by topic, this work provides researchers with quick access to basic research methods-related data. The author describes literature reviews, sampling, measurement, experimental design, statistics and other topics in non technical terms at a conceptual level easily understood by first-time researchers.


Robson, Colin. Real World Research: A Resource for Social Scientists and Practitioner-Researchers. Cambridge: Blackwell Publishers, 1993.

An excellent resource that presents research methods and tools in a straightforward manner that is useful for the specialist and non-specialist alike. The book clearly defines the research process in non-technical terms and includes numerous exhibits (e.g., flowcharts, tables, graphs) and examples. The text includes useful suggestions and identifies items to consider in the research process lifecycle.



Glossary of Social Science Computer and Social Science Data Terms

Visit this site to define terms commonly used in a data library or computing environment. The definitions are cross-indexed to facilitate movement between related terms and concepts.


Online Dictionary of the Social Sciences

A quick and efficient way to determine the definition of complex social science terms or phrases, this site provides users with both a Google-like search engine and an A-Z index for browsing.


Rutgers University

Research Methods WWW Tutorial

This website provides students with supplemental information on research methods to access outside of class. The author uses five topics to organize the information: What are research methods?; Common errors made in research; Some early steps in research; Variables and relationships; Portrait of the young child as a researcher. Some topics include links to related websites and articles.


Social Science Information Gateway

This UK site provides users with the ability to browse a lengthy list of Internet resources related to research tools and methods. Users can click on research tools or methods (general, quantitative, or qualitative) and then select items of interest. The website presents a brief description of the resource and its URL (hyperlinked).


Proposal Development

Successful projects start with well-designed proposals. This step requires researchers to consider in detail their research focus and how they intend to complete the work. A good proposal also serves as a useful communication tool that helps you to enroll stakeholders in your project effort, a key requirement to ensure continued support. Finally, it provides a roadmap that you can refer to throughout the project when faced with questions like “Why did we do this in the first place?”



Hall, Mary S. and Susan Howlett. Getting Funded: The Complete Guide to Writing Grant Proposals. Fourth Edition. Portland State University, 2003.

This well-written guide clearly explains the grant writing process in non technical terms, with useful explanations and examples. Chapter 3 Developing the Idea explains how to develop a clear and compelling research focus.     


Krathwohl, David R. How to Prepare a Research Proposal: Guidelines for Funding and Dissertations in the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Third Edition. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1988.

This book provides an introductory-level description of the proposal process. Section III Preparing and Submitting the Proposal covers useful topics like the most common reasons why proposals fail and presents detailed checklists, writing tips, and comments on different types of studies.



Kraicer, Jacob. (1997) The Art of Grantsmanship.

The author provides sound advice from the perspective of both a successful submitter and as a reviewer in an engaging manner. It includes useful tips on how to select reviewers, suggests a sequence of activities, and identifies common mistakes committed by first-time applicants.


Social Science Resource Council

The Art of Writing Proposals: Some Candid Suggestions for Applicants to Social Science Resource Council Competitions

This site demystifies the committee review process and provides useful information that will help writers create proposals that standout from the pack. It identifies and then describes the three questions that reviewers typically consider when evaluating proposals, and suggests strategies to provide compelling answers.


University of Kansas

Humanities Grant Development Office

Graduate Student Proposal Development Tutorial

Written specifically for KU graduate students pursuing humanities-related grants and fellowships, this site presents the major steps involved in writing proposals in a simple, straight-forward format complete with tips. The authors use an engaging “how to” writing style, which is particularly useful to those new to the proposal writing process. A downloadable version of the site information is available in PDF.


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Research at Carolina

Grant Source Library

Although designed specifically for students, faculty, and staff at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, this site provides useful information regarding the proposal writing process. In addition to general, process-related information, it includes a bibliography of grant writing and proposal development guides and a well-organized and selected list of approximately 20 links to online proposal writing guides developed by academics and leading private and public institutions.


University of Pittsburgh
Office of Research
Proposal Writing Guide

This site provides another great example of a site designed to facility the proposal writing process for novices. Although written primarily for a graduate and PhD student audience, the suggestions and guides are easily transferable to other institutional settings. Of particular use, the site provides five general tips regarding the process that may serve as a checklist or items to consider. It also provides a descriptive outline of the key components of a proposal.

Research Methods

A project’s success often hinges on the ability of the researcher to select a method that fits best with her or his research skills and project goals. The following sources provide general information on common research methods to help facilitate the selection process.



Oral History


Ritchie, Donald A. Doing Oral History: A Practical Guide. Second Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.


Sommer, Barbara W. The Oral History Manual. Walnut Creek, CA: Altamira Press, 2002.


Content Analysis


Franzosi, Roberto. From Words to Numbers: Narrative, Data, and Social Science. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004.


Krippendorf, Klaus. Content Analysis: An Introduction to its Methodology. Second Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2004.


Neuendorf, Kimberly. The Content Analysis Guidebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2002.


Interviews and Questionnaires


Dillman, Don A. Mail and Internet Surveys: The Tailored Design Method. New York: J. Wiley, 2000.


Fowler, Floyd J., Jr. Improving Survey Questions: Design and Evaluation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1995.


Punch, Keith F. Survey Research: The Basics. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2003.




Denzin, Norman K. and Yvonna S. Lincoln. Handbook of Qualitative Research. Second Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing, 2000.

Krathwohl, David R. Methods of Educational and Social Science Research: An Integrated Approach. Second Edition. New York: Longman, 1997.

This text book provides a detailed overview of the research process. Sections 4-6 provide a detailed look at qualitative and quantitative research methods, and a hybrid approach that combines the best of both methods. It includes a glossary of research terms cross-indexed with the text. Well-written in an instructive style, this book is relatively free of jargon and technical terms.


Lewis-Beck, Michael. Data Analysis: An Introduction. Series: Quantitative Application in the Social Sciences, 103. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing, 1995.

This short handbook (i.e., <77 pages) introduces and explains statistical fundamentals in a simple, non technical style. Both first-time and seasoned researchers will benefit from the author’s clear explanations basic concepts such as measures of association, significance testing, simple regression, and multiple regression.


Patton, Michael Quinn. Qualitative Evaluation and Research Methods. Third Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing, 2002.

This lengthy book focuses on the qualitative research process based on the author’s research experiences. A particular strength of this work consists of a detailed look at qualitative interview techniques, including how to word the questions and record the data (Chapter 7 Qualitative Interviewing). Chapter 9 Qualitative Analysis and Interpretation explores the use of inductive analysis, logical analysis, and the validation and verification of research data.


Wadsworth, Yoland. Do It Yourself Social Research. Second Edition. St. Leonards, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin, 1997.



Maricopa Community Colleges

Maricopa Center for Learning & Instruction

Research Methods on Social and Natural Sciences


This site presents a brief interactive tutorial on the five research methods. Its objective is to instruct students on how to differentiate between the methodologies and to understand the strengths and weaknesses associated with each method. It includes features that allow students to practice their knowledge and concludes with a brief test to determine how much information users retain.


University of Miami

University of Miami Libraries

Research Methods in the Social Sciences: An Internet Resource List

This useful site presents research methods data in seven categories: general; tests and measures; survey methods; quantitative; qualitative; research and writing; and software. The click-through resources list includes on-line textbooks, journal articles, newsletters, and research centers.


The Web Center for Social Research Methods

This well-organized site features data of use for all levels of expertise. It includes approximately 50 web-based research methods tutorials designed by graduate students for other students that focus on specific topics (e.g., Qualitative Research Methods; In Search of Truth through Quantitative Reasoning; How Stable and Consistent is Your Instrument?; Multivariate Statistics: An Introduction) 


A key step in the research process involves communicating project results with colleagues and stakeholders. The design and delivery of informative presentations involves more than just creating and showing a few PowerPoint slides. The following sources provide suggestions and tips to help researchers create powerful and interesting presentations that showcase project results.



Buchan, Vivian. Make Presentations with Confidence. Barron’s Business Success Guides. Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., 1997.

This short book provides first-time presenters with key tips and suggestions on how to develop and deliver informative presentations. It discusses the use of charts, figures, and tables to enliven presentations, and includes information on how to develop the confidence necessary to convey complex topics to both small and large groups.  




Project Management

Most successful projects do not end with the completion and delivery of the final report. These projects typically involve the implementation of findings and recommendations. The following sources provide general information related to the project management process.  



Bryson, John M., and Farnum K. Alston. Creating and Implementing Your Strategic Plan: A Workbook for Public and Nonprofit Organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1996.

Although developed to facilitate the strategic planning, this workbook contains a useful section on implementing processes within organizations. It includes worksheets and templates to help plan and communicate process changes to increase the odds of successful implementation.



Project Management

This site explains project management basics and includes a useful breakdown of key process steps. It includes links to related information included the specific roles and responsibilities of project managers, various approaches, and links to standards.