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Alan Gillies. Abingdon, Oxon: Radcliffe Medical Press, 2002. £24.95. 168 pp. ISBN 1 85775 936 2
With its own designated online website as the essential other half of the “package”, this innovative workbook is much more than initial impressions might suggest.
Each chapter has links onto the easily negotiated site which can be used to access published papers or chapters in online books to read through as part of the assignments of each topic. The technology link works well in the chapter on literature reviews, for example, where we are taken on a simple PubMed search and into the author’s virtual library, which is an Aladdin’s labyrinth of resources.
The book covers all the topics one would expect for a course on research methods, from identifying a research topic and writing a proposal through to ethics committees, literature reviews, and qualitative and quantitative methods including statistics. Each topic is covered in a clear informative tutorial style, with summaries of key learning points that should have been achieved and “questions to think about” to encourage reflective learning. An early chapter demonstrates the evaluation of research from academic, practitioner, managerial, and strategic perspectives, and the author aims to meet the needs of practice and clinical governance staff.
As a GP recently entering the field of academic research I found this book excellent, perhaps in some part because one ends up reading chapters in several other books and also a lot of papers. Anyone engaging in true research in primary care would find thisbook valuable, and those seeking to understand and evaluate papers better for whatever purpose will find much to enlighten them by reading selectively, as completing the whole book and associated assignments is quite a time investment—albeit an enjoyable one.