Reviews

Ground rules for good research

This new book is aimed at undergraduate, postgraduate and professional students, particularly in health sectors, business studies and the social sciences. It offers a practical guide to both novice and experienced researchers undertaking small-scale studies. There is a ten-point guide to the ground rules of good research, manifested in ten themes, taking the reader through the research process step by step.

The themes are introduced in chapter sequences, however, the book is structured to enable researchers to use it as a dip- in resource to enhance particular elements of the research process. To frame the themes, a chapter on foundations for social research discusses the main terms and concepts that characterise social research. For example, principles of positivism and interpretavism are introduced, together with explanations of terminology surrounding these approaches. The main chapters begin with a discussion of the purpose of research, with tips on how to develop aims, research questions and outcomes.

Relevance is discussed in terms of timeliness, literature searches and critical reviews, while human and material resources are considered in relation to time management and cost effectiveness.

Other themes include originality, which discusses topic areas; accuracy, relating to validity and reliability; accountability pertaining to the audit trail and record keeping; generalisations in research, for example, sampling, generalisability and

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The themes are introduced in chapter sequences, however, the book is structured to enable researchers to use it as a dip- in resource to enhance particular elements of the research process. To frame the themes, a chapter on foundations for social research discusses the main terms and concepts that characterise social research. For example, principles of positivism and interpretavism are introduced, together with explanations of terminology surrounding these approaches. The main chapters begin with a discussion of the purpose of research, with tips on how to develop aims, research questions and outcomes.

Relevance is discussed in terms of timeliness, literature searches and critical reviews, while human and material resources are considered in relation to time management and cost effectiveness.

Other themes include originality, which discusses topic areas; accuracy, relating to validity and reliability; accountability pertaining to the audit trail and record keeping; generalisations in research, for example, sampling, generalisability and transferability; objectivity relating to bias and reflexivity; ethics pertaining to consent, integrity and data security; and, finally, proof which covers verification and causation.

The text is well written, with supplementary references for further reading, and clear guidance points summarised in boxes throughout. Another feature is the integrated thematic approach, for example, at relevant points in the text, there are ‘link up’ points to other themes within the book. Additionally, each theme has checklists for self-assessment in relation to the research project.

I can recommend the text as an invaluable guide for novice researchers, and an aide-mémoire for those more experienced in small-scale research projects.

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