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


Research in Communication Sciences and Disorders
Methods for Systematic Inquiry

Third Edition
Lauren K. Nelson
272 pages, Illustrated (B/W), Softcover, 7 x 10"
Included Media:
Companion Website
Release Date:
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Research in Communication Sciences and Disorders: Methods for Systematic Inquiry, Third 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 text reflects the movement toward evidence-based practice in audiology and speech-language pathology.

The author ensures 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 author provides lists of supplemental readings from the research literature in the field.

The third edition benefits instructors and students alike with the addition of a PluralPlus companion website. The website provides convenient presentation slides for each chapter and answers to review questions for instructors. For students, the website lists the key words for each chapter, provides links to supplemental websites and documents, and displays interactive versions of many of the figures within the text.

Other changes to the third edition include:

  • Incorporating the recent information on evidence-based practice
  • Updating the statistics chapter with additional contemporary procedures
  • Revising the chapter on research design
  • Generally updating references and information in all chapters


  • Suzanne M. Welty M.A., Ed.D., CCC, Associate Professor Communication Sciences and Disorders, Biola University, La Mirada, CA (April 2017):
    ""I LOVE this textbook! I had not adopted it for my class last semester but will be using it next fall for my Graduate research course. Of all the research textbooks that I have looked at, Nelson provides descriptions of research topics which are well described and helpful to increase my students' comprehension of the subject matter. I appreciate the abundance of online resources as well.""


Chapter 1. Empirical and Nonempirical Research: An Overview
Systematic Inquiry
Some Roles for Research
Types of Research
Getting Started with Research
Review Questions

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 HIPAA
Review Questions
Learning Activities
Appendix 2-1. Research Scenario
Responsible Conduct of Research Scenario
Discussion Questions

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

Chapter 5. Nonexperimental Research Design
Nonexperimental Research Designs
Survey Research
Case Studies
Longitudinal Research
Correlation and Regression
Group Comparisons
Casual-Comparative Research
Qualitative Research
Review Questions
Learning Activities

Chapter 6. Experimental Research and Levels of Evidence
Experimental Research Designs
Importance of Experimental Control
Quasi-Experimental Approaches
Experimental Designs and Levels of Evidence
Review Questions
Learning Activities
Appendix 6-1. Research Scenario

Chapter 7. Research Participants and Sampling
Populations and Samples
Sample Characteristics
Sampling Methods
Sample Size
Review Questions
Learning Activities

Chapter 8. Data Analysis: Describing Different Types of Data
Levels of Measurement
Visual Representation of Data
Descriptive Statistics
Measures of Central Tendency
Measures of Variability
Means as Estimates
Shapes of Distributions
Review Questions
Learning Activities

Chapter 9. Data Analysis: Inferential Statistics
Inferential Statistics
Measures of Association
Testing for Differences Between Two Samples
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

Chapter 10. Research Outcomes: Clinical Guidance, Research Reports
Knowledge Base for Evaluating Clinical Research
Reporting Research Findings
Disseminating Research Findings
Review Questions
Learning Activities


About The Author

Lauren K. Nelson

Lauren K. Nelson, PhD, 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).

Related Titles

Purchasers of this book receive complimentary access to supplementary materials hosted on a PluralPlus companion website. For instructors, the site includes PowerPoint presentation slides for each chapter and answers to review questions. For students, key words for each chapter, links to related websites and documents, and interactive versions of many of the figures from the book.

Student Materials:

  • Important terms
  • Links to related websites
  • Tables
  • Interactive figures
  • Measures
  • Sampling Examples

Instructor Materials:

  • PowerPoint slides
  • Answers to review questions

To access the materials, log in to the website using the URL located inside the front cover of your copy of Research in Communication Sciences and Disorders: Methods for Systematic Inquiry, Third Edition.

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

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