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Methodologies for Practice Research

Methodologies for Practice Research
Approaches for Professional Doctorates

Edited by:

December 2018 | 280 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Sharp and focused, this book provides the need-to-know information on how to design and implement a good, high quality research project.

Oriented around real-world application, it emphasizes the aspects of research most relevant to conducting practice-based research. Assuming no prior knowledge, but appropriate for experienced learners, it builds knowledge at a sustainable pace.  

It offers readers:

- A no frills guide to methodology and the theory of conducting research

- Strategies for communicating complex ideas

- Insight into common impact-driven methods like action research, case study, and mixed methods  

- Ways to develop systematic research projects within the boundaries of everyday working life

- Ample opportunities to test and apply newfound knowledge.

With streamlined advice tailored specifically to support research in professional contexts, this book is the essential toolkit every researcher who is embarking on a practice-led project needs.


Carol Costley and John Fulton
Part I: Underlying Principles
Tom Maxwell
Chapter 1: Philosophy and Practice – why does this matter?
Key definitions

Modes 1 and 2 knowledge production

An important philosophical thread



Carol Costley
Chapter 2: Research Approaches in Professional Doctorates; notes on an epistemology of practice

Different forms of knowledge have led to epistemic changes

The modern application of practice-based research approaches

Towards an epistemology of practice

Pam Burnard, Tatjana Dragovic, Rebecca Heaton and Barry Rogers
Chapter 3: Why Policy Matters Particularly in Professional Doctorates

The imperative of why policy matters to the researching professional

On setting parameters that lead to policy analysis and change

So, how should researching professionals go about policy analysis?

Methodologies for connecting professional doctorates and policy/ies

Driving professional and wider changes in society: doing the doctorate differently

Conclusion – So what for professional doctorate education?

Jan Fook
Chapter 4: Reflective Models and Frameworks in Practice

Reflection and its relationship to research

The concept of reflection and related concepts

Reflection and reflexivity

An integrated understanding and practical model of critical reflection

Reflection and practice-based research

Different ways in which reflection can be used in research

Issues for further discussion

Criteria for making decisions about how to use reflection in research

John Fulton and Carol Costley
Chapter 5: Ethics
A Brief History of Ethics and Philosophical Principles

Translating the principles into the research design

Practice-based Research

Issues to consider in Practice-based Research

Part II: Methodological Frameworks
Kate Maguire
Chapter 6: Methodology as Personal and Professional Integrity: Research Designing for Practitioner Doctorates

The context

Personal and Professional Integrity

Disentangling paradigms, methodologies, approaches and methods


The simplicity of an approach

Beginning research designing: conceptualising your practice in order to conceptualise and theorise practice

Forms of conceptualisation


Research designing: influences to consider

Your design

Help with clarifying an attitude to the workworld to achieve what matters

Embracing Complexity

Valerie A. Storey
Chapter 7: Alternative Dissertation Models: The Development of Modern Capstone Design
Setting the Stage

What Characterises a PD Dissertation?

Extending the Dissertation Spectrum

The Challenge: Alternative Dissertation Formats

The Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED)

Alternative Models: Active Ingredients

Conclusion and Recommendations

Kath Woodward
Chapter 8: Auto-Ethnography
Range and Scope of Auto-ethnography


Theories, Methodologies and Methods

Gill Coleman
Chapter 9: Action Research

Insider Researchers


An “extended” epistemology

First, Second and Third-person Action Research

Putting it into practice


Conclusion: challenges and strengths

Catherine Hayes
Chapter 10: Case Study

What is the philosophical stance?

What is the extent and range of the case study?

Using Case Study Research in the Context of a Professional Doctorate

Theory Building with Case Study Research Data

David Plowright
Chapter 11: Mixed Methods

The Challenge

Mixed Methods Research

The FraIM: A Brief Description

Warrantability of Research

Integrated Matrix


John Fulton
Chapter 12: Translational Research in Practice Development
Types of knowledge

How do you know that research can be applied to practice?

Roles in Translational Research

The Process of Translational Research


Heléne Clark
Chapter 13: Theory of Change: The Real Thing and How to Design Successful Social Change Projects
Basic Components of a Theory of Change

Basic Definition of Theory of Change

Theory: Each Component Defined

Three Basic Purposes and Times for Theory of Change

Using A Theory of Change in Practice

Snapshot of the Process of Creating a Theory of Change

Tips on Success in Creating a Theory of Change



Costley and Fulton provide a must read for anyone involved with professional doctorates. This book supports researchers to understand and promote the importance of practice research, conduct it and create real research and policy impact. The book we’ve been looking for!

Tracey Wond
Head of Research (Business, Law and Social Sciences) and PhD and Professional Doctorate (Business) Programme Leader, University of Derby

This is an inspiring, welcome, and long overdue text that details the multiple dimensions and unique merits of professional doctorates (PDs) and how they can be distinguished from traditional PhDs. The chapters provide a detailed guide for PD students and faculty advisors. It is also useful as a framework for designing PD programs. 

Shauna Butterwick
Professor Emeritus, Department of Educational Studies at University of British Columbia

With carefully crafted content exploring what it means to be a researching professional, Methodologies for Practice Research is a must-read text for anyone involved in designing, developing, delivering, and assessing professional practice doctoral programs. Finally, a book that will help free the professional practice doctoral dissertation from the PhD straitjacket.

Nancy Fichtman Dana
Professor, School of Teaching and Learning, University of Florida

Methodologies for Practice Research is a game-changer for researchers across the professions. By naming essential methodologies, addressing the rigor, and illuminating the messiness but critical importance of this scholarship, this must-read book will change how current and future scholarly practitioners think about and conduct practice-based research.

Rebecca West Burns
Associate Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning, College of Education, University of South Florida

Perfect for students new to research and for their teachers undertaking their own academic research. Useful and essential

Dr Chelle Oldham
Education, Coventry University Scarborough Campus
September 24, 2019

A well written text that provides focused information on how to structure and implement a research project. Each chapter provides accessible information to support the development of the research project.

Mrs Sue Baylis
Centre For Early Childhood, Worcester University
April 10, 2019

Offers clear and concise advice of all areas of research

Dr Paul Demetriou-Crane
Education, Havering College of Further and Higher Education
March 9, 2019

I used this book to offer students the opportunity to explore different methodologies for doing research in their practice. It really helped them to understand the concepts and steps in the research process.

Dr Evgenia Theodotou
CASS School of Education & Communities, University of East London
March 27, 2019

Great overview of methodologies, easy to read and understand.

Dr Annette Hand
Nursing Department, Midwifery & Allied H, Northumbria University
October 3, 2019

It has not been delivered to me.

Professor Ayse Fulya Sen
Journalism, Firat Universitesi
September 21, 2019

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