The Craft of Research – Book Review

The Craft of Research 3rd Edition by Booth, Colomb & Williams


A book I just finished reading is The Craft of Research by Booth, et al. This is the 3rd edition, but there is a 4th edition out now. A number of authors have since passed away on this, and so they've also updated the author list.

Some of the things that I took away from this were certainly it's a great guide to helping select a research topic. They propose some good approaches for those of you who are in want to do a PhD but haven't quite narrow down your topic yet. If you use this book, they give you some good approaches to doing some basic research in the field that you might be interested in, in order to get to the topic that you might want to ultimately research.

I've seen a lot of forums online particularly on Facebook to talk about probably mature age or later stage PhD students. This is particularly irrelevant. I think to them in the kinds of work that they end up choosing, and how to frame their question before they start their PhD. The other thing that Booth talks about the other thing is worth taking home is that as experts in our field, we can tend to what might be described as state the obvious. The reason why it's obvious to us might not be obvious to the people that we're working with or arguing with as it were. It's always important to understand the level of knowledge the people that you talk to have about your topic. Bearing in mind that even though they might be expert researchers, they might not be experts in your field.

First of all, working on common ground and then disputing the argument is a great way to build a case. This book goes into how to do that well. They call that the fairy tale approach. The final thing that I thought was really useful particularly as an academic trying to gain citations, and gain traction is to understand the keywords that are used to search for, and find research in your field, and try to where possible use those keywords in your titles, and in your abstracts to make the information that you're producing more easily found by the people that are likely to look for it.

I highly recommend the book - The Craft of Research. You can get it from Amazon. It's not that expensive. Enjoy reading it.