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I bought this book when I started to do my dissertation for my psychology degree, after my tutor had advised it would be useful to help me with where to start. The book covers a range of aspects such as 'planning the project', 'reviewing the literature', 'designing and admninistering questionnaires', 'interpretation and presentation of the evidence' and 'writing the report'. It is well laid out and pretty easy to read through or skip to different sections as you require and it gives plenty of angles of how to present information, for example. It should therefore have been really helpful to me but unfortunately it wasn't really. I found it a little too basic and obvious in some aspects, that much of it was common sense. Such as 'set deadlines', write regularly' and ensure that the data you are using is 'reliable and valid'. By the time you get to doing your dissertation, in the third year of your degree, you would already know all this! What I really wanted was an example of how to set the dissertation out, as it was so different from the other essays required throughout my degree, but this book didn't really do that. It also gives vague information about the reference list, saying you may or may not need to include books which you have read but not actually cited 'check this with your tutor'. Esentially, I didn't find it told me anything I couldn't have figured out on my own or checked with my tutor. It was partially no good for me because a large part of it was about gathering and presenting data which my dissertation topic didn't really fit into - I had no specific figures to gather or graphs to present. Also it was partly because much of how you should set out a dissertation or research piece depends on the preferences of your own university. My advice would be to only buy this book if you really need basic guidance and you can buy it cheap second hand from Amazon or something and that really the best thing you can do is to ask your tutor if you can see examples of preious dissertations.
This book is a useful introduction to writing a research paper; it contains comprehensive information which would help to guide you through the whole process. It is written well using a brief but detailed overview of the process and encourages you to do certain tasks on finishing each chapter. It cannot be relied on fully as an authoritative guide to researching for a paper but if used in conjunction with other prominent authors in this field it would form a basis to start writing from. The author has written a small but interesting and informative paragraph on action research where it is suggested that action research theories are 'not validated independently and then applied to practice. They are validated through practice' (p.9). I liked this point, it helped me to sum-up the purpose of action research. In my research project the use of observation will be a prominent part of my data collection. The chapter written on observation was very informative and drew my attention to the fact that it wasn't going to be as simple as looking and recording. 'Careful planning and piloting' (p.156) are essential to getting this important part of my research right before I begin.