Why Can’t I Use a Summary Text When Citing My Research Method and Design?

I want to take a minute and explain to you why you don't use a summary text like Creswell as your primary source when discussing your research method and design. Like many other texts, it is an excellent summary text that overviews the entire gamut of research designs, referencing specific authors at the end of sections.

This is ideal when learning about research methods and designs. There are books that deal only with qualitative or quantitative design and even specialty books that narrow further. The key to remember is it is not the source text for each design discussed. That is illustrated in the following two pages found at the end of the first part of a Creswell text that I have.

Let's Put Things in Perspective

It takes a tremendous amount of work to finish a dissertation.

According to the US Census - 8.9% of the population has a master's degree or higher. The increase in public school teachers with a master's or higher in the past 10 years is pointed to for a significant amount of this growth. Only 3% of the US population has a doctorate or professional degree. [emphasis added] In 2000 this was only 1% -- that indicates a very significant increase over the past 1/2 decade but it's still a very low percentage of the total population. Since professional degrees are included in this statistic, some people feel that the numbers are higher because some degrees that were master's or bachelor's in the past have since become first professional doctorates. The part of these that is specifically the PhD is believed to be well under 1% but no separate census data is available to pull that number out. [emphasis added] - via answers.yahoo.com

So what do you do?

You can use summary texts to read about your primary research design, but then dig deeper and go to the experts related to your particular research design. For example,  Creswell refers to Merriam and Stake for case study design. Personally, I would have added Robert Yin as well because he is also a case study expert.