Research Methods for Public Administrators

Research Methods for Public Administrators

Research Methods for Public Administrators

Research Methods for Public Administrators

Synopsis

Without jargon or mathematical theory to hinder a quick understanding and use, here are the research tools and techniques you can grasp and immediately apply to obtain research services from others or do research yourself. Johnson makes clear that to succeed in any public agency management position, you have to be able to think analytically and know how to assess the quality of research results. By providing the underlying concepts and just enough methodology to operationalize them, she gives you exactly what you need--in a clear, straightforward way that takes the fear out of learning. You will find here an especially wide range of practical guidelines and examples, all from the author's own and others' experiences in a variety of settings within the public sector. Throughout her book she emphasizes the "how" of research--how to do it, how to make sense of its findings--and covers all the basic statistical tools, concentrating steadily on interpreting research results. An important, reader-friendly text for students of public administration, and for their often perplexed colleagues already on the job.

Excerpt

I remember sitting in my required research methods and statistics courses when I was getting my MPA degree and wondering: Why do I have to learn this? As we calculated formulas by hand, I asked: Why don’t we have the computers do this mind-numbing stuff? When I continued my education for a Ph.D., I still was puzzled and confused about research and statistics. As I gained experience in conducting research in the workplace, I realized research not only has practical applications but also is a very creative process. It requires the ability to engage in critical thinking by asking, How do I know this is true?

Public administrators who are not researchers have practical uses for research in this age of measuring results. There is an increasing expectation that public administrators demonstrate the effectiveness of their policies, programs, and management. They do not need to know, however, the formulas or understand all the Greek symbols that fill the blackboard of traditional statistics courses—formulas dutifully transferred to class notes, memorized to pass an exam, and then quickly forgotten. Most public administrators are not researchers and there is little reason for them to know these arcane bits of information.

As a professor in a public administration graduate program who teaches the required research methods course, I do not teach formulas nor do I have students calculate them. Computers can crunch numbers. While many people argue that it is necessary to calculate the formulas in order to understand statistics, they present no statistical evidence to support their . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.