I have pulled together some of the resources that I find useful when I am reading or writing about research. Some of them may surprise you, but as you’ve probably guessed by now, I don’t really deal in dull literature. Life is too short to be put off interesting things by boring writers.
- Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling. Available from Amazon £7.99 The world lost the most amazing man when Rosling died in 2017. The Swedish statistician had a way of making numbers come to life and built his name as a myth buster. This book is a fitting tribute to his life’s aim, edited beautifully by his son and daughter-in-law, to make people think more critically about the world and the “facts” that we are bombarded with everyday.
- Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. Available from Amazon £6.50 You may be wondering why there is a book about economics on a blog about research, and that’s a fair question. The answer is that economics underpins our entire world and not just in a monetary way. This cleverly written book encourages us all to ask more probing questions about the world we live in such as why drug dealers live with their Mums and how our name shapes our entire life. Prepare to be dazzled!
- The Undercover Economist by Tim Harford. Available from Amazon £7 Harford is probably best know for his weekly column of the same name in the Financial Times. I takes skill to write about a subject like economics in an engaging and relevant way, but Harford has managed it here. He takes us through the basics of economics from how costs are calculated, all the way through to the macro-level and how China became the worlds fastest growing economy. This is surprisingly applicable for anyone interested in research and if numbers bring you out in a cold sweat, this is a great read to put the palpitations back in their place.
- Bad Science by Ben Goldacre. Available from Amazon £4.99 You can’t go wrong with any of Goldacre’s books, but this one is a great place to start. Bad Science looks at how research is conducted, where this can go wrong and how devastating the effects of bad research can be.
- Critical Appraisal Skills Programme www.casp-uk.net If you’re fairly new to reading research, this is a fab website that provides an actual checklist of what to look for in a paper to determine its validity and reliability. It’s totally free and you can download and print the checklists that you need.