Research and practice are the focus for December on SAGE MethodSpace. Find the unfolding series of posts through this link.
Each month SAGE MethodSpace welcomes experienced authors to serve as “Mentors-in-Residence.” They discuss their work, answer questions, and offer practical tips for researchers and those who teach or supervise students or novice researchers. See posts from previous mentors by clicking on the MentorSpace link.
To enrich the December focus on Research and Practice, the co-editors of Research Design and Methods: An Applied Guide for the Scholar-Practitioner join us. I interviewed them so we can get acquainted and lay the groundwork for this month’s series of posts.
JS. Research Design and Methods: An Applied Guide for the Scholar-Practitioner is a new release from SAGE. Please begin by introducing yourself and your co-editors.
Gary J. Burkholder is senior research scholar and senior contributing faculty at Walden University and currently holds a staff position in the Center for Research Quality. He graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a PhD in experimental psychology and his MA and BA degrees in psychology; he also earned a Bachelor of Science in engineering degree from the University of Washington. Gary has been on the faculty at Walden University, a distance education institution focused primarily on graduate, scholar-practitioner students, since 2001. He has served in several senior academic and business administration roles at Walden University and other institutions including program director, director of online studies, assistant dean, dean, college vice president, and vice president for academic affairs. In his faculty role, Gary has mentored over 90 doctoral dissertation students in the social and behavioral and the health sciences. His research focus spans qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods including multivariable statistical analysis and instrument development. Gary has conducted research in topics that intersect psychology and public health, including those involving exercise and diet behavior change and adherence; predictors of substance use, sex risk, and HIV risk among youth and adults. More recently, Gary’s research interests have involved retention and persistence in tertiary education as well as online pedagogy. He has served as author on approximately 70 peer-reviewed publications and collaborated in over 70 conference presentations; several publications and presentations have involved his doctoral students. He is active in the American Public Health Association, serves as a peer reviewer with the Higher Learning Commission regional accreditation body, and serves as a reviewer for several professional journals in education, psychology, and public health.
Kimberley A. Cox earned her PhD in social psychology from Claremont Graduate University and her master’s degree in psychology from Pepperdine University. She received her undergraduate education at the University of California, Irvine where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a bachelor’s degree in criminology, law, and society. For the past 10 years, Kimberley has been a faculty member at Walden University where her work is dedicated to teaching and mentoring future scholar-practitioners. During this time, she has mentored 45 doctoral students to dissertation completion. Kimberley is a past recipient of Walden University’s Bernard L. Turner award for excellence in mentoring dissertation students and the Presidential Research Fellowship in Distance Education. She currently teaches doctoral-level courses in research design and methods and applied social psychology. Kimberley has served as a subject matter expert in the design of several online courses in subject areas such as research design and methods, social psychology, and instructional design. Most recently, her academic interests include the application of social psychology principles and theories to social problems and environmental issues with a focus on topics that intersect social psychology, health, and the environment. Prior to her teaching career in higher education, Kimberley held various academic and applied research positions, including as a research associate in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior in the College of Medicine at the University of California, Irvine, as a research associate at the Rand Corporation, and as a doctoral research fellow at the NASA Ames Research Center.
Linda M. Crawford, professor emerita at Walden University, received her doctoral degree from the University of Minnesota with emphases in curriculum and educational administration. In her most recent position as director of academic quality and accreditation for Laureate Education, she conducted quality assurance reviews, both domestically and internationally, at institutional, program, certificate, course, and service levels, including reviews for schools in Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, and Switzerland. She also advised institutions extensively on the faculty perspective related to academic initiatives, including development of new faculty orientation programs, faculty governance, and faculty models. Prior to her work in quality assurance, Linda held both teaching and administrative positions at all levels of education, including P-12, undergraduate, and graduate education. While serving as an assistant superintendent for a large, metropolitan area school district, Linda provided direction for research, evaluation, and assessment; P-12 curriculum and instruction; special education; instructional media and technology; state and federal programs, including desegregation, family service cooperatives, and all federal Title programs; policy development and maintenance; and community education. She also initiated online learning within the P-12 environment with a focus on serving homebound students or students otherwise missing school attendance and on providing low enrollment courses across districts. Involved in online education for two decades, Linda developed and taught courses for multiple universities in the areas of research, measurement and evaluation, curriculum theory and design, instructional practice, and educational law. She has published and presented locally, regionally, and nationally on topics of research, curriculum, educational philosophy, administration, and mentoring doctoral students. Her current research centers on mentoring graduate students and building a sense of community among students in the online environment. Linda is a two time recipient of the Walden University Bernard L. Turner Award for excellence in mentoring dissertation students and has also received the Walden University Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership Extraordinary Faculty Award.
John H. Hitchcock is a principal associate in the Social and Economic Policy division of Abt Associates. In the past he held tenured faculty appointments at Ohio University and Indiana University. At each university he also served as a director of a research center. He earned a PhD in educational psychology, a certificate of advanced study in applied research, focusing on program evaluation, and a master’s degree in educational psychology and statistics, all from the University at Albany, State University of New York. John earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Evansville. He focuses on developing mixed methods research applications, evaluating interventions designed for children with special learning needs, and research syntheses. To date he has served as a co-principal investigator on four randomized controlled trials, helped the U.S. Department of Education develop standards for evaluating the causal validity of single-case research designs, co-authored more than 45 scholarly works (peer reviewed journal articles, books, national technical reports, and book chapters) and presented research at conferences more than 125 times. As part of these efforts he co-authored grant applications that have led to more than $10 million in funding from federal, state, philanthropic and international agencies. He has served as an associate editor for School Psychology Review and is currently co-editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches. As an international researcher, John served on the executive board of the Mixed Methods International Research Association and has provided consultation to education leaders in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kosovo, and Jamaica.
JS. Why did you decide to work together on this book? Have you previously collaborated on writing or editing?
Each of us has spent many years working with scholar-practitioner students and doing our own writing and research. In working with our unique kind of students, we noticed a few things. First, most of our students do not plan on pursuing careers in academic research. Thus, it was extremely challenging to find a textbook that presents research theory, design and methods in a way that is understandable to our students – meets them where they are and where they need to be and not to train them to become the professional researchers they will not become. Second, while mentoring students, we were discovering common mistakes that kept recurring. For example, there are some fairly standard procedures involved in writing a formal research proposal, yet students continued to make mistakes when doing something as basic as writing a good, testable research question. Third, students continue to be mystified by the Institutional Review Board and ethics processes that are required for conducting scientific research. Fourth, we all had an interest in seeing students get their work out into the world, either through publishing in scientific journals, trade journals, and other similar venues; presenting at conferences; or even just presenting results to key stakeholder groups.
We found that students were not engaging in these activities at a reasonable rate. Finally, there are certain kinds of designs our students tend to choose for their thesis and dissertation work, such as phenomenology, grounded theory, group comparison, and case studies, so we thought it would be helpful if a student could look at a simplified chapter, understand the strengths and limits to that particular design given the research question, and be provided direction to key resources to help strengthen the knowledge and skills for the chosen design. Of course, there is value in being able to understand other designs so as to be able to compare and contrast different options, be able to connect one’s research questions to a design, and more broadly, prepare to be a strong scholar-practitioner. For these, and many other reasons, and given the needs of our students and the lack of similar textbooks, we dreamed of putting together all of the key pieces of research into one book students can use during their introductory research series.
We have worked together for many years. Gary, Kimberley, and Linda have been teaching at Walden collectively now for over 60 years and have mentored probably nearly 200 doctoral students, many of whom we have guided to publication. We found ourselves talking together over those years about ways that we can help students gain the skills they needed – and not extraneous skills – to become solid scholar-practitioners. We have worked together on internal projects at Walden. For example, Linda and Gary worked with a team across the institution to significantly revise the doctoral dissertation rubrics and checklists. John and Gary have been collaborating and writing together for many years on topics related to mixed methods research. So, we all had our own projects, but collectively, we finally realized we wanted to work together to bring this book to fruition.
JS. This book includes chapters by other writers as well. How did you select these contributors?
We worked very closely with Helen Salmon, our SAGE collaborator, to identify the best authors in the field. The team of co-editors looked carefully at an earlier version of the book and decided that one significant gap was that we did not have chapters on analysis. So, we sought out the best people to write these chapters, those scholars who also worked on very practical projects and had experience working with scholar-practitioners. For example, Craig Mertler is an expert in action research; we feel fortunate that he was excited to contribute. Justus Randolph has a knack for explaining complex statistical analytical concepts, and Sarah Munce and Tony Onwuegbuzie are internationally recognized experts in mixed methods analysis. We also noticed a significant gap in that we did not have a chapter on dissemination, an area we all feel passionate about. While we have all published, John has been particularly prolific in publishing, speaking at conferences internationally, and writing grants, so he was an excellent choice for this chapter.
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