Reviews

Research methods for clinical therapists: applied project design and analysis

Many who attend critical appraisal courses are keen to get under the skin of a research project. Just as stripping down a car engine offers insights into their design, appraising a published study helps to discover the key features of a particular research design.

This becomes an important step towards planning a research project. But when it comes to supportive texts, there appear to be two camps – the rigorous and worthy research methods text and the more user-friendly, more lightweight guide to appraisal.

This book neatly bridges the gap. It engages the reader in a clear and accessible style, but does not shy away from complex, yet essential, design or statistical explanations.

This, the fifth edition of a text with which I was not previously familiar, demonstrates all the characteristics of an author confident with content and style and bears the hallmarks of an experienced teacher and writer. It is perhaps surprising that one author has produced such prodigious output across a range of methodologies – typically this is accomplished by assembling a broad multidisciplinary team.

To an eye not tutored to the specific needs of clinical therapists there are some idiosyncratic choices

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This becomes an important step towards planning a research project. But when it comes to supportive texts, there appear to be two camps – the rigorous and worthy research methods text and the more user-friendly, more lightweight guide to appraisal.

This book neatly bridges the gap. It engages the reader in a clear and accessible style, but does not shy away from complex, yet essential, design or statistical explanations.

This, the fifth edition of a text with which I was not previously familiar, demonstrates all the characteristics of an author confident with content and style and bears the hallmarks of an experienced teacher and writer. It is perhaps surprising that one author has produced such prodigious output across a range of methodologies – typically this is accomplished by assembling a broad multidisciplinary team.

To an eye not tutored to the specific needs of clinical therapists there are some idiosyncratic choices of content, For example, the Thurstone Paired Comparison technique receives a prominence not encountered in comparable texts. But the addition of a chapter on undertaking systematic reviews is welcome and does much to broaden the usefulness of this book for its target audience – clincial therapists.

Granted the back cover broadens this to nursing research and complementary medicine. But even here author and publishers undersell the work. This is a book to support all multidisciplinary clinical research at Masters level. It fills a niche for wide ranging but accessible coverage of design and statistics, even at undergraduate level.

My advice is drop the clinical therapists tag and market the next edition as Mastering Clinical Research Methods. In the meantime I encourage you to ignore the title and buy this, the fifth edition.

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