|| Handbook of Research
Design and Social Measurement (Fifth Edition)
|| Delbert C. Miller
|| Sage Publications,
Inc. © 1991
Sage Publications, Inc.
2455 Teller Rd.
Newbury Park, CA 91320
$85.00 (c) / $35.00 (p)
This massive (704 page) reference is a comprehensive resource
for social research design. It has survived five major revisions, dating back to
its original edition published in 1964 (which cost $3.50 in paper). The book is
divided into seven parts which cover general descriptions of research design and
sampling, basic research design, applied and evaluation research, guides to
methods and techniques of data collection, guides to statistical analysis and
computer resources, reviews of selected sociometric scales and
indices, and a review of basic research proposal writing. Each of the seven parts
is divided into numerous sub-parts which focus on specific questions such as
"The Validity of Research Methodology," "How Science is
Built," and "Bogardus's Social Distance Scale." The individual
articles generally range from 1 to 2 pages in length, making the book more a
reference work than an expository monograph.
The print is highly condensed which makes some portions,
especially the lengthy notes at the end of each article, difficult to read.
individual articles are carefully referenced and end noted. The work is indexed
by both subjects and names.
Miller's tome is part research methods text, part Mental
Measurements Yearbook, and part "How to..." book. While some college
instructors have attempted to use this work as a text for undergraduate and
graduate courses in research design, this work is better classified as a
reference book primarily suited for the serious social investigator. Miller is a
sociologist, but the content of all seven parts of the book are useful to
anyone interested in social research.
One problem with Miller's approach is that he doesn't fully
explain the variability of his focus — why are some topics, such as research
methodology, examined in such careful detail, but other subjects, such as
personality measurement, surveyed so cursorily? For example, while the guide to
scales and indices includes careful reviews of the Minnesota Multiphasic
Personality Inventory and the Authoritarian Personality (F) scales, these two
measures can hardly be considered the alpha and omega of personality
measurement. His claim that "of all the personality measures available,
social researchers will likely find these two scales to be the most useful for
their purposes," (p.505) seems almost näive.
Overall, Miller's text is a must-have for any serious social
investigator. It is comprehensive enough to (at least lightly) touch on
virtually any subject one might encounter. In addition it contains such
substantial references that it should be consulted as a guide before one engages
in any further inquiry into most research topics.
Reviewed by Joseph A. Erickson, Assistant Professor and
Co-chair, Augsburg College Education Department, Minneapolis, Minnesota. e-mail