Doing Science offers a rare compendium of practical advice based on how working scientists practice their craft. It covers each stage of research, from formulating questions and gathering data to developing experiments and analyzing results and finally to the many ways for presenting results. Drawing on his extensive experience both as a researcher and a research mentor, Ivan Valiela has written a lively and concise survey of everything a beginning scientist needs to know to succeed in the field. He includes chapters on scientific data, statistical methods, and experimental designs, and much of the book is devoted to presenting final results. He gives valuable suggestions for improving scientific writing, for preparing scientific talks, and devotes three chapters to hands-on advice for presenting data in charts, tables, and graphs. Anyone beginning a scientific career, or anyone who advises students in research, will find Doing Science an invaluable source of advice.
Many books cover research design and data analysis, and some discuss communicating findings, but Valiela (Boston U. Marine Program) demonstrates the importance of gathering these topics between two covers. The first half of the book covers the principles of empirical and deductive science, elements of scientific data and tests of questions, statistical analyses, and principles of research design; the second presents invaluable information about writing, speaking, and graphically interpreting scientific findings. The last chapter discusses current perceptions about science, postmodern critiques, and why it is in scientists' interest to educate the public about science and its limitations. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)