The Research Companion: A Practical Guide for the Social and Health Sciences (Paperback) book cover

The Research Companion

A Practical Guide for the Social and Health Sciences

By Petra M. Boynton

© 2005 – Psychology Press

208 pages | 14 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781841693057
pub: 2005-06-30
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pub: 2005-06-30
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About the Book

Social science research has traditionally focused on the historical study of research methods, frequently overlooking the practical skills needed to undertake a research project. The Research Companion recognises this need for instruction in the practice of research and offers clear, honest advice to help avoid typical problems and improve the standards.

The whole research process is covered in detail, from setting up a study through to presenting findings, with sections on all the basic tasks central to any research project, including:

  • planning research
  • researcher and participant safety
  • monitoring research in progress
  • research ethics.

The structure of the book means it is useful for researchers at all levels of experience. The numerous examples and case histories make it ideal for students just beginning their first research project, whilst the breadth of coverage and wealth of practical tips will also be highly relevant to experienced researchers.

This book is invaluable to all students of the social sciences, whatever their level of experience, and should be instrumental in raising the general level of research competence, making research more accurate, ethical and productive.

A website - - which includes a users' message board and other supplementary materials accompanies this book.


"It aims to help the new researcher understand what is needed and how to go about doing research. Although the text's subtitle is 'A Practical Guide to the Social & Health Sciences' there's much in it that can be of direct use to .. virtually all researchers. … It's really a guide to getting the best information out of people in the best way and leaving everyone happy at the end. Although this book lies slightly outside the ecology research sphere it does have a great deal of good information in it. It covers those aspects of working with people that many other texts ignore whilst still getting the core of the research task organised. the range of resources is impressive and the text has a lively feel to it. Those working in the applied science area would do well to read this text." - Paul Ganderton, British Ecological Society's Teaching Ecology Group, at

"A rare and easily readable text which describes the research process as it really is. Refreshingly honest with a wealth of examples, this text will be invaluable for researchers starting out in social and health science research." - David C. Wilson, Warwick Business School, UK

"This book is written by an outstanding young researcher who has thought very carefully about what newcomers to the field will need to know in order to make their early research projects a success. It is written in a lively, easy to read style and is peppered with examples that bring the book alive and whet the appetite for real world research." - Trisha Greenhalgh, Royal Free and University College Medical School, UK

"This is a lovely book, and that is a phrase not often applied to research texts. It is easily readable, full of useful information and very relevant for budding researchers. […]The introduction is engaging and there are exercises which are particularly useful in identifying where your research weaknesses may lie. The text then offers practical advice on all of the key stages of research, from planning and organisatin, to seeking funding, through to submission and dissemination. […]What this book does offer is a very useable source of sensible information that any novice (and probably not-so-novice) researcher will find beneficial." - Bob McMaster, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, UK

Table of Contents

Introduction. Planning Research. Starting Out. Completing Research: The Importance of Piloting and How to Stay Focused. Participants. Researcher Well-Being. Once a Study's Underway. End Results and Reporting Findings

About the Author

Petra Boynton is a lecturer in international primary care at University College London. She has previously been awarded Cosmopolitan magazine's 'woman of achievement' award for her educational work and was named one of Britain's 'women to watch' by The Guardian for being the UK's first evidence-based agony aunt.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Research & Methodology