Research in Communication Sciences and Disorders: Methods for Systematic Inquiry

Fourth Edition

Lauren K. Nelson, Jaimie L. Gilbert

Details: 279 pages, B&W, Softcover, 7" x 10"

ISBN13: 978-1-63550-205-3

© 2021 | Available

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Research in Communication Sciences and Disorders: Methods for Systematic Inquiry, Fourth Edition is a comprehensive yet comprehendible text meant for instructors and students of research methods in the field of communication sciences and disorders. This forward-thinking book reflects the movement toward evidence-based practice in speech-language pathology and audiology.

The authors ensure that the concepts associated with evidence-based practice are integrated throughout the chapters. Rather than treating empirical research and searching for clinical evidence as separate topics, this text presents both as different applications of a process of scientific inquiry. The order of the chapters reflects the steps a researcher or clinician might complete when conducting an investigation. Also included are features that help students be more active in learning the material. Each chapter has a set of review questions or case scenarios that can be used as homework, as probe questions in class, or as a basis for group activities. In addition, the authors provide lists of supplemental readings from the research literature in the field.

New to the Fourth Edition

  • New author: Jaimie L. Gilbert for an enhanced audiology perspective
  • New chapter: Writing a Literature Review
  • Reorganized for better flow of information
  • Various new and updated references to reflect the current state of research
  • Additional illustrations and tables
  • Expanded material on critical appraisal  

PluralPlus Online Ancillary Resources

For Instructors: PowerPoint lecture slides, answers to the review questions
For Students: Key words for each chapter, links to supplemental ebsites and documents, and interactive versions of select figures from the text.


"The book provides a comprehensive overview of research methods in communication sciences and disorders, including descriptive chapters on critical components of research, which equips students to read and critique research, prepare for the Praxis exam, as well as engage in writing a study. The fourth edition also includes a chapter on writing literature reviews. A strength of the book is the manner in which the content is clarified and explained by the authors, rather than merely stated. It is well organized with well-referenced chapters that provide summaries, review questions, specific learning activities, and research scenarios."
—Suzanne M Welty, MA, EdD-CCC, Biola University, in Doody's Book Reviews (January 2021) 



Chapter 1. Empirical and Nonempirical Research: An Overview
Systematic Inquiry
Some Roles for Research
Types of Research
Getting Started with Research
Review Questions
Appendix 1–1. Tips for Reading a Research Article

Chapter 2. Ethical Considerations
Protection of Human Participants
Special Protections
Historical Perspective
Institutional Review Boards
Research Integrity
Avoiding Conflicts of Interest
Credit for Intellectual Effort
Attribution of Ideas
Accuracy in Reporting Information
Data Management
Confidentiality and Privacy
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
Review Questions
Learning Activities
Appendix 2–1. Research Scenario

Chapter 3. Identifying and Formulating Research Questions
Identifying Important Questions
Formulating Research Questions
Ways to Formulate a Research Problem
Evidence-Based Practice Questions
Criteria for Well-Formed Questions
Establishing Validity and Reliability
Review Questions
Learning Activities

Chapter 4. Completing a Literature Search
Purposes of a Literature Search
Planning and Conducting a Search
    Search Tools
Designing a Search Strategy
Organizing and Documenting Your Literature Search
Review Questions
Learning Activities
Appendix 4–1. Electronic Literature Search

Chapter 5. Writing a Literature Review
Research Phases
Purposes of a Literature Review
Note Taking
Writing the Paper
    Example of an Outline
    Summary and Conclusions Section
Citations and References
Literature Review Checklist
Types of Literature Reviews
Review Questions
Learning Activities

Chapter 6. Nonexperimental Research Design
Nonexperimental Research Designs
Survey Research
Case Studies
Longitudinal Research
Correlation and Regression
Group Comparisons
Causal-Comparative Research
Qualitative Research
    Grounded Theory
    Case Study
    Conversation Analysis
    Scientific Rigor in Qualitative Research
Review Questions
Learning Activities
Appendix 6–1. Examples of Research Designs

Chapter 7. Experimental Research and Levels of Evidence
Experimental Research Designs
    Posttest-Only Designs
    Pretest–Posttest Randomized Control Group Design
    Solomon Randomized Four-Group Design
    Switching Replications Design
    Factorial Designs
Importance of Experimental Control
    Statistical Regression
Quasi-Experimental Approaches
    Nonequivalent Control Group Designs
    Repeated Measures Group Design
    Single-Subject Designs
    Single-Subject Design Quality
Experimental Designs and Levels of Evidence
Review Questions
Learning Activities
Appendix 7–1. Research Scenario

Chapter 8. Research Participants and Sampling
Populations and Samples
Sample Characteristics
Sampling Methods
    Simple Random Sampling
    Systematic Sampling
    Stratified Random Sampling
    Cluster Sampling
    Purposive Sampling
    Random Assignment
Sample Size
Review Questions
Learning Activities

Chapter 9. Data Analysis: Describing Different Types of Data
Levels of Measurement
Visual Representation of Data
Descriptive Statistics
    Frequencies and Percentages
Measures of Central Tendency
Measures of Variability
Means as Estimates
Shapes of Distributions
Review Questions
Learning Activities

Chapter 10. Data Analysis: Inferential Statistics
Inferential Statistics
Measures of Association
    Pearson Product-Moment Correlation Coefficient
    Coefficient of Determination
    Spearman Rank-Order Correlation
    Chi-Square and Contingency Coefficient
    Simple Regression and Multiple Regression
Testing for Differences Between Two Samples
    Independent and Paired t-Tests
    Confidence Intervals
    Mann-Whitney U
    Sign Test and Wilcoxon Matched-Pairs Signed-Ranks Test
Testing for Differences among Three or More Samples
Statistical Analysis for Factorial Designs
Additional Tools for Analyzing Clinical Data
Caution in the Use and Reporting of Statistics
Review Questions
Learning Activities
Appendix 10–1. Examples of Data Analysis Procedures

Chapter 11. Research Outcomes: Clinical Guidance, Research Reports
Knowledge Base for Evaluating Clinical Research
    Critical Appraisal
    How Applicable Are the Findings
Reporting Research Findings
    Components of a Research Report
    Writing Guidelines and Writing Style
Disseminating Research Findings
Review Questions
Learning Activities


Lauren K. Nelson

Lauren K. Nelson, PhD, CCC-SLP, is an associate professor and head of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). Since coming to UNI in 1990, she has taught courses in articulation and phonological disorders, child language disorders, phonetics, prevention of communication disorders, and research methods. Her educational background includes a BS degree from Northern Michigan University and an MA degree from Central Michigan University. After working for 2 years in an Iowa area education agency, she returned to school and completed her PhD studies at Memphis State University (now University of Memphis). She has published articles in several professional journals, including the Journal of Applied Psycholinguistics, Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, Seminars in Speech and Language, and Topics in Language Disorders.

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Jaimie L. Gilbert

Jaimie L. Gilbert, PhD, CCC-A, is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Northern Iowa. She received a BA in Communicative Disorders and in Linguistics from the University of Wisconsin and an MA and a PhD in Speech and Hearing Sciences (Audiology) from the University of Illinois. Dr. Gilbert completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University. Her research interests include auditory-visual integration and talker variation in speech perception.

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Research in Communication Sciences and Disorders: Methods for Systematic Inquiry, Fourth Edition comes with access to supplementary student and instructor materials on a PluralPlus companion website.


To access the student materials, you must register on the companion website and log in using the access code printed on the inside front cover of your book.


To access the instructor materials, you must contact Plural Publishing, Inc. to be verified as an instructor and receive your access code.


            Tel: 866-758-7251 (toll free) or 858-492-1555

*Note for students: If you have purchased this textbook used or have rented it, your access code will not work if it was already redeemed by the original buyer of the book. Plural Publishing does not offer replacement access codes for used or rented textbooks.

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