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Developing Research in Primary Care.
  1. Centre for Health Studies, University of Durham
  2. Durham, UK

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    Developing Research in Primary Care. Edited by Mike Saks, Martin Williams, and Beverley Hancock. (Pp 154; £15.95.) Radcliffe Medical Press, 2000. ISBN 1-85775-397-6.****

    It is unsurprising that many excellent research concepts are lost because of poor planning and execution. Perhaps surprising is that many important advances can be attributed to serendipity rather than forethought. Even then, serendipity, like luck, is likely to assist the experienced researcher. For the novice the journey into research can be daunting and the gap to success as wide a chasm. If every journey does begin with the first step then this book is ideal for those starting.

    The early sections on starting projects, seeking funding, and dealing with ethics lucidly unmask these processes. There are also well targeted sections on health needs assessment and implementing research findings likely to be of value to new and experienced researchers.

    If there is a problem it is that the authors gloss over some real problems encountered. The otherwise excellent section on ethics does not warn of the frustrations faced by the honest researcher and the difficulties in obtaining the quality supervision and mentoring for new researchers. There is no delineated section on qualitative research, although this is covered under health needs assessment. However, the book has a task orientated feel appropriate to primary care and is suitable for dipping into.

    The useful glossary mentions the “fog index”. This calculates a publication's reading age. Based on their formula the reading age of this book ranges from 13 to 16 years between the early and later chapters. The Sun newspaper comes in at 12!

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