Literature List: How to organize a scientific work
“I took a speed reading course and read ‘War and Peace’ in twenty minutes.
It involves Russia.”
Last weekend, I did a presentation for the MinD-Akademie in Germany with the topic: “The Future of Your Research — How to organize a scientific work?”. It was a lot of fun creating the presentation and even more fun holding it (great audience :-)). Over the next few days I’m going to put the material online here (presentation slides translated in English). As this takes a while, here the cited literature:
Science in General and Advisers/Colleagues
- Cham’s “PhD Comics”: http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php
I could have done the whole presentation with PhD Comics, but no one would have believed that they actually describe “real” situations (“real” because it’s a little over the top, but always with a nugget of gold). Great to get a humorous view on academia.
- Sternberg’s “Psychology 101½”: Sternberg, R. J. (2003). Psychology 101 1/2 The Unspoken Rules for Success in Academia. Washington, DC: APA.
A very good book by a distinguished professor about life in academia. While written with psychology in mind (he is psychologist), some aspects can probably be applied to other domains.
- Pausch’s “Last Lecture”
(Video & Book): Pausch, R. (2008). Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams. New York: Hyperion. [Video here on YouTube]
A brilliant presentation about a person’s life in academia (and in general) — it shows what you can accomplish and what is needed. For all who think that a job in academia is more than just making money to life by (badly in many cases).
- Schwartz’s “The importance of stupidity in scientific research”: Schwartz, M. A. (2008). The importance of stupidity in scientific research. Journal of Cell Science, 121, 1771. Available at http://jcs.biologists.org/cgi/content/full/121/11/1771
A one page article about the necessity of feeling stupid while doing research. Should be required reading by every PhD student just to get the “but I did study it, why don’t I know the answer in advance” out of one’s mind.
- Patterson’s “Your Students Are Your Legacy”: Patterson, D. A. (2009). Your Students Are Your Legacy. Communications of the ACM, 32(3), 30-33. doi:10.1145/1467247.1467259
A brilliant argument for good advisory — and what makes good advisory. Should be required reading for everyone who advises students.
- Schmidt & Richter’s Artikel von 2008 und 2009: Schmidt, B., & Richter, A. (2008). Unterstützender Mentor oder abwesender Aufgabenverteiler? – Eine qualitative Interviewstudie zum Führungshandeln von Professorinnen und Professoren aus der Sicht von Promovierenden. Beiträge zur Hochschulforschung, 30(4), 34-58. und Schmidt, B., & Richter, A. (2009). Zwischen Laissez-Faire, Autokratie und Kooperation: Führungsstile von Professorinnen und Professoren. Beiträge zur Hochschulforschung, 31(4), 8-35.
Both articles are in German but they are very interesting — more information on them in a posting about them.
Finding a Topic and Planning the Research
- Perry’s Criteria for a good dissertation topic: Perry, C. (1998). A structured approach to presenting theses. Available online at http://www.scu.edu.au/schools/gcm/ar/art/cperry.html
An excellent text about doing a thesis with some very good points on selecting the right topic.
- Booth, Colomb, & Williams’ “The Craft of Research”: Booth, W. C., Colomb, G. G., & Williams, J. M. (2003). The Craft of Research. (Second Edition). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
More on the basics of what research is and how to do it — applicable for many domains.
- Ullman’s “Advising Students for Success”: Ullman, J. D. (2009). Advising Students for Success. Communications of the ACM, 52(3), 34-37.
Another great text about advisory — with more focus on choosing a relevant topic.
- Reference Manger Overview: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_reference_management_software
- citavi: http://www.citavi.com
A very interesting reference manager, because it offers more than a database for storing reference information. It offers a way to organize knowledge taken from the articles, which is something few reference manager do. Very interesting!
- Sente: http://www.thirdstreetsoftware.com
A reference manger that offers intelligent note taking capabilities. More in this posting.
- Zotero: http://www.zotero.org
An interesting reference manager because it works in the browser. But there is still the problem of storing more than just the articles.
- Mendeley: http://www.mendeley.com [Update: Until it becomes clear how Elsevier treats Mendeley, I no longer recommend using Mendeley (currently looking for another solution).]
Interesting because it is also a social network. You can get information what people who read similar articles have read. Very interesting and the way of the future.
Capturing and Managing Ideas and Data
- Organizing Creativity: http://www.organizingcreativity.com
I hesitate to recommend my own book (still working on the second version and it is just — wrong). But it was written to cover this topic. Get the PDF here.
- Circus Ponies Notebook: http://www.circusponies.com
Beautiful digital notebook with a great outliner. Get more information on working with it in these postings:
- Circus Ponies Notebook: The Best Tool for Structuring Creative Writing Projects (esp. Research Projects)
- Circus Ponies Notebook for Academic Writing (e.g., Thesis Writing)
- Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_wiki_software
Wikipedia has a very good overview of the different Wiki (engines) available.
- DokuWiki: http://dokuwiki.org
A very good and easy to manage wiki engine.
- DEVONthink: http://www.devon-technologies.com/products/devonthink/
A very interesting note management system. Read more in this posting.
- Scrivener: http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php
Personally the best writing application I know of — way, way better than word and well worth a look. Read more in this posting.
Preparing Studies and Analyzing the Data
- Field’s “Discovering Statistics Using SPSS”: Field, A. (2005). Discovering Statistics Using SPSS (2nd Edition). London: Sage.
My statistics book was the Bortz (German book) — which was … not that suited to learn what statistics is about and why it is interesting and useful. Field manages to do both en passant — a very well written book and highly recommended.
- Pallant’s “SPSS Survival Manual”: Pallant, J. (2007). SPSS Survival Manual. McGraw-Hill, Open University Press.
Everything you need to know to do the standard tests in statistics for psychologists. Looks cheap but is the best practical handbook I know. Very, very useful.
- Goodwin’s “Research in Psychology”: Goodwin, C. J. (2009). Research in Psychology. Methods and Design. New York: Wiley.
Good basic text about research.
- Wright’s “Making friends with your data”: Wright, D. B. (2003). Making friends with your data: Improving how statistics are conducted and reported. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 73, 123-136.
Something every researcher should know — very interesting text.
- example for a “strange” but very valuable source: Froman, R. D. (2001). Elements to Consider in Planning the Use of Factor Analysis. Southern Online Journal of Nursing Research, 2(5). Retrieved from http://www.resourcenter.net/images/SNRS/Files/SOJNR_articles/iss05vol02.pdf.
- Silvia’s “How to Write a Lot”: Silvia, P. J. (2007). How to Write a Lot. Washington D.C.: APA.
Read this to avoid delaying your writing. A brilliant text that smashes the typical excuses of why not to write and gives very useful hints to write.
- Alley’s “The Craft of Scientific Writing”: Alley, M. (1996). The Craft of Scientific Writing (3rd Edition). New York: Springer.
The best text I know of regarding the criteria for scientific writing and a very convincing text that technical writing (e.g., all research papers) is craft, not art, i.e., you need to get your facts straight, not divine inspiration.
- Bem’s “Writing the Empirical Journal Article”: Bem, D. J. (1987). Writing the empirical journal article. In M. P. Zanna & J. M. Darley (Eds.), The compleat academic: A practical guide for the beginning social scientist (pp. 171-201). New York: Random House.
Can be found online in a different version (which I did read). The standard text for psychologists working in research.
- Yaffe’s “How to Generate Reader Interest in What You Write”: Yaffe, P. (2009). How to Generate Reader Interest in What You Write. ACM Ubiquity, 10(7).
An interesting text to capture the reader.
- Lamott’s “bird by bird”: Lamott, A. (1994). bird by bird. New York: Anchor Books.
A very good book about (fictional) writing, but with helpful hints for academic/technical writing as well — esp. to write a “shitty first draft”, you can always improve it later.
- Academic Phrasebank: http://www.phrasebank.manchester.ac.uk
If reading articles does not give you the necessary vocabulary or you struggle with the right phrases, this site will help.
- Trafimow & Rice: Trafimow, D., & Rice, S. (2009). What If Social Scientists Had Reviewed Great Scientific Works of the Past? Perspectives on Psychological Science, 4(1), 65-78. DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-6924.2009.01107.x
A brilliant article about how tough and irrational the peer review process is in the social sciences. More in this posting or look directly in the article — very humorous and highly recommended.
- Reynolds’ “Presentation Zen” & “The naked presenter”: Reynolds, G. (2008). Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery. Berkeley, CA: New Riders. and Reynolds, G. (2011). The naked presenter. Delivering Powerful Presentations With or Without Slides. Berkeley, CA: New Riders.
Brilliant books to avoid death by PowerPoint.
- TED talks: http://www.ted.com
Great for inspiration — many of the speakers can convey not only their message/the facts but also why they love this topic.