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Survey research methods,
  1. HUGH F THOMAS
  1. MRC Epidemiology Unit, Llandough Hospital, South Glamorgan CF64 2XW, UK

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    Survey research methods, Judith Calder, 42 pp. Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME Medical Education Research Booklet 6), 1988. £8 (£6 to ASME members), paperback. ISBN 0 904473 23 6.★★★

    This booklet gives practical guidance on starting, running and completing a research project. It is a slim volume but contains a lot of practical advice and is surprisingly comprehensive. The examples of research relate mainly to medical education, because the booklet is from a series produced by the Association for the Study of Medical Education. Presentation is clear, with short chapters, and the text is easy to read.

    This booklet would be a good starting point for undergraduates undertaking their dissertations and new postgraduates entering research. The range of references is limited but one would hope that their supervisors and libraries would offer more detailed guidance. While this booklet can be read at one sitting, I suspect that new researchers would review it often in their early work as the concepts, practical aspects and writing-up require a logical framework that is well summarised in the booklet. It is important to encourage social, medical, and educational researchers to read a work such as this before they start data collection. Many people, including clinicians, have been known to amass vast amounts of data, often badly, and then to search for a friendly statistician who they hope will tell them what it all means. Early sensible planning and realistic timescales will save much wasted effort and anxiety. This booklet offers important useful advice to the budding researcher.

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