Plural Publishing produces leading academic, scientific and clinical publications in the fields of speech-language pathology, audiology, and otolaryngology.


Clinical Research Methods in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

Second Edition
David L. Irwin, Mary Pannbacker, Norman J. Lass
360 pages, Illustrated (B/W), Hardcover, 7 x 10"
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Written for graduate students and practicing clinicians, this textbook, now in its second edition, provides comprehensive knowledge about understanding and conducting clinical research. Specifically, readers will learn to understand the strengths and weaknesses of different research methodologies, apply the results of research to clinical practice and decision making, and understand the importance of research ethics.

Importantly, this is the only book to take into account qualitative research and evidence-based practice, and to provide a detailed discussion of research ethics.

For the second edition, the authors have updated and expanded the content.

New and expanded topics include:

  • HIPAA and its impact on research
  • Knowledge and skills needed for evidence-based research
  • Application of revised Codes of Ethics to research: AAA (2011) and ASHA (2010)
  • Comparison of ASHA (2005) and (2007) levels of evidence
  • Chronology of research misconduct in the United States
  • Organizational support for evidence-based practice
  • Framing questions: PICO and PESICO
  • Research utilization
  • Information literacy
  • Use of social networking as a research database
  • Using single-subject design for ASD subjects

In addition, the chapter on research grants includes an updated and expanded list of potential funding sources for grant-seeking purposes, both online and text-based, for federal, foundation, association, and corporate research grants.

With its updated content and many new features, Clinical Research Methods in speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Second Edition is an excellent choice for students and professionals seeking to increase their knowledge of research in communication sciences and disorders.


  • Sheila V. Stager, BSc, MS, MS, PhD (Voice Treatment Center), Doody's Review Service (2008):
    "This is an excellent resource for anyone interested in research. The inclusion of information on ethics, grant writing, treatment outcomes, and evidence-based practice as well as the more standard information on design and statistics set this apart from other research design books. The text is well organized, and the writing is clear and understandable. It would make an excellent textbook for a research design course. [Refers to First Edition]"

  • Ahmad Khatoonabadi, Tehran University of Medical Sciences (2013):
    "1. Content is excellent and up to date, 2. Its organization is good, 3. Its language is fluent and appropriate for those who are not English natives...I think this book is an advantage for this field."

  • Gail B. Kempster, Rush University Medical Center, IL, USA, International Journal of Audiology (2014):
    "...While there are a number of very good texts that are written for our discipline--most of which are referenced in this book--no one text I have used has covered the broad number of topics I want students to learn in my course. That was true until I was able to review “Clinical Research Methods in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology ” (2nd ed.) by Irwin, Pannbacker, and Lass, a text I had not previously examined.

    "Clinical Research Methods..." contains 14 well-written and well-referenced chapters. The text is easy to read, even for students encountering these concepts for the first time. Chapter topics cover the gamut from an introduction to research to the evaluation of tests and treatments to coverage of issues related to research proposals and grants. The authors appear to have written the text both for students (future clinicians) who need to learn how to evaluate research in the discipline in order to apply it to practice, and for potential investigators. These dual purposes are difficult to balance, but Irwin, Pannbacker, and Lass do a fine job in maintaining clear explanations and providing a depth of content important for both audiences. The formatting and style of each chapter are especially helpful for readers...

    Some chapters stand out as particular assets to users: The chapter on research ethics is well-researched and thoughtful. The inclusion of a chapter on multimethod research may be ahead of publications in the field due to the apparent dearth of such studies in speech language pathology and audiology. Particularly helpful is the information contrasting narrative reviews, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses...

    "Clinical Research Methods in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology" (2nd ed.) by Irwin, Pannbacker, and Lass is a comprehensive introductory text written for students in communication disorders and for potential investigators. I recommend it for a graduate course in research methods because of its broad range of covered topics, helpful pedagogical features, and extensive references. This text will be on my book adoption order for next year!"

  • Chris Whitfeld, BSC, MA, AudiologyNow (Spring 2013):
    "This book is a comprehensive description of modern clinical research methods. It is primarily written with the student in mind and assumes little prior knowledge. However any audiologist returning to research after a break would benefit from it. If you just plan to contribute to the profession by doing a bit of research of a practical or enquiring kind, there is a lot in the book for you....

    The book's main advantage over other research methods texts for the Australian Audiologist is the use of examples of research that are relevant to us. This makes it easier to engage with the concepts as they are presented. The text is highly structured with each chapter having an outline, learning objectives, introduction, content, summary, discussion questions and excellent references. The structure makes it highly suitable as a textbook for audiology courses. It is well written and clear in its explanations....

    Overall, this is an excellent text, that it has come to a second edition alone highly recommends it. It is a complete, structured description of modern clinical research methods. It is highly recommended as preparation for anyone planning to do research of a primary or secondary kind or even if they just want to start reading a bit more of the literature in their field. It could easily be used as the basis for a course at an undergraduate or post graduate level. But it is more- it is relevant to modern clinical practice and extremely encouraging and positive about the outlook for professions that get involved in research."

List of Tables
List of Figures

1 Introduction to Research

Chapter Outline
Learning Objectives
Importance of Research in Communication Sciences and Disorders
Historical Evolution of Research in Communication Disorders
Source of Knowledge
Types of Research

Descriptive Research
Exploratory Research
Experimental Research
Survey Research

Discussion Questions

2 Ethics of Research in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

Chapter Outline
Learning Objectives
Need for Ethical Guidelines
Historical Background
Research Misconduct
Issues in Research Ethics

Planning Research
Informed Consent
Institutional Approval
Control Groups
Conflict of Interest
Referencing Sources
Peer Review
Publication Correction
Evidence-Based Practice

Sanctions for Unethical Conduct
Institutional Review Board
Teaching Research Ethics

Current and Future Issues

Discussion Questions
Appendix 2–A
Appendix 2–B

3 Research Problems

Chapter Outline
Learning Objectives
Basic Concepts and Terms
Control of Variables
Selecting a Topic
Selecting a Research Problem
Hypotheses and Theories
Feasibility of a Research Project
Budgetary Consideration and Preparation
Discussion Questions

4 Locating, Accessing, and Assessing Information

Chapter Outline
Learning Objectives
Locating Information
Data Mining
Online Journals
Use of the World Wide Web
Interlibrary Loan
Manual Searches
Social Media
Evaluating Research
Rating the Evidence
Levels of Evidence
Critical Appraisal
Discussion Questions

5 Literature Review

Chapter Outline
Learning Objectives
Organizing Literature Reviews
Formulating Questions
Narrative Reviews
Systematic Reviews

Difference Between Narrative and Systematic Reviews

Best-Evidence Synthesis
Clinical Practice Guidelines
Discussion Questions

6 Measurement

Chapter Outline
Learning Objectives
Scales of Measurement

Nominal Level of Measurement
Ordinal Level of Measurement
Interval Level of Measurement
Ratio Level of Measurement

Validity of Measurement
Reliability of Measurement
Discussion Questions

7 Research Design and Strategy

Chapter Outline
Learning Objectives
Characteristics of a Good Design
Group Designs

Between-Subjects Designs
Within-Subjects Designs
Mixed-Group Designs
Advantages and Disadvantages of Group Designs

Single-Subject Designs
Sequential Clinical Trials
Technologic Applications and Research Designs
Discussion Questions

8 Quantitative Research

Chapter Outline
Learning Objectives
Characteristics of Quantitative Research
Advantages and Disadvantages of Quantitative Research
Quantitative Research Design

Nonexperimental Designs
Pre-experimental Designs
Quasiexperimental Designs
Single-Subject Design
True-Experimental Designs

Quantitative Analysis

Descriptive Statistics
Inferential Statistics
Multivariate Statistics

Discussion Questions

9 Qualitative Research Methods

Chapter Outline
Learning Objectives
Characteristics of Qualitative Research
Advantages and Disadvantages of Qualitative Research
Misconceptions About Qualitative Research
Qualitative Research Designs
Case Study
Data Collection

Focus Groups
Document Analysis

Analyzing Qualitative Data
Criteria for Evaluation of Qualitative Research
Discussion Questions

10 Multimethod Research

Chapter Outline
Learning Objectives
Characteristics of Multimethod Research
Advantages and Disadvantages of Multimethod Research
Research Designs
Data Analysis
Criteria for Evaluating Multimethod Research
Discussion Questions

11 Reporting and Disseminating Research

Chapter Outline
Learning Objectives
Reasons for Reporting Research
Myths and Facts about Research Reports
Time Management for Reporting Research


Format of Research Reports

Key Words
Author Contributions
Tables and Figures
Diagrams and Maps

Writing Style

APA Format
Personal Pronouns
Avoid Bias

Rewriting and Revising
Translating Research Reports to Published Papers
Types of Research Reports

Journal Articles
Theses and Dissertations
Presentations at Professional Meetings

Evaluating and Reviewing Research Reports
Discussion Questions

12 Evaluating Tests and Treatments

Chapter Outline
Learning Objectives
Evaluation Issues
Discussion Questions

13 Evidence-Based Practice: Application of Research to Clinical Practice

Chapter Outline
Learning Objectives
Defining Evidence-Based Practice
Evidence Based Practice: Terms and Definitions

Research Utilization
Information Literacy
Clinical Trials

Advantages and Disadvantages of Evidence-Based Practice
Myths and Misconceptions about Evidence-Based Practice
Barriers to Evidence-Based Practice
Quality of Evidence: Levels and Grades
Knowledge and Skills Needed for Evidence-Based Practice
Developing and Implementing Evidence-Based Practice

Organizational Support for Evidence-Based Practice
Resources for Evidence-Based Practice

Communicating Evidence
Ethical Consideration

Control Groups
Double Blinding
Risks and Benefits

Discussion Questions

14 Research Grants

Chapter Outline
Learning Objectives
The Grants Acquisition Process
Grant Seeking

General Principles of Grant Seeking

Grant Proposal Writing

Preliminary Considerations
The Grant Proposal
The Budget
The Idea/Problem
Unsolicited and Solicited Proposals
Basic Principles of Grant Proposal Writing
Suggestions for Grant Proposal Writing
Characteristics of a Fundable Research Grant Proposal
The Grant Proposal Review Process

Grant Management
Discussion Questions
Study Exercises


About The Authors

David L. Irwin

David L. Irwin, PhD, CCC-SLP, received his BSE and MS degrees in speech-language pathology from the University of Central Missouri. He earned a PhD degree in communication disorders from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. He is currently Director of the Speech-Language Pathology program and Director of the Autism Center at the University of Louisiana-Monroe. He is a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and received Honors of the Association from the Louisiana Speech-Language-Hearing Association. His primary areas of research include individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, professional issues and ethics and interprofessional practice and education. He has been the Principal Investigator (PI) for approximately $1.8 million in grants from federal, state, and private resources.

Mary Pannbacker

Mary Pannbacker, PhD, (1938-2015) was Professor Emeritus and the Albertson's Professor of Speech-Language Pathology, an endowed chair, in the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-Shreveport.

Norman J. Lass

Norman J. Lass, PhD, is Professor of Speech Pathology and Audiology, West Virginia University. After completing his doctorate at Purdue University and a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Kansas Medical Center, Dr. Lass joined the faculty in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at West Virginia University. His teaching has included graduate-level courses in experimental phonetics and research methods in speech-language pathology and audiology, as well as undergraduate courses in speech science and hearing science. He is the recipient of numerous outstanding teacher awards from student organizations as well as college, university, and professional organizations, including national honoraries and foundations. He has authored/coauthored or edited 23 books, published more than 130 articles in professional journals, and authored/ coauthored more than 300 papers presented at meetings of professional associations. His current research interests are centered on literature descriptions of listener attitudes toward accented English, as well as numerous topics associated with professional issues in communication sciences and disorders. He is a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

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