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Advising on research methods: A consultant's companion by Herman Adèr, Gideon Mellenbergh and David Hand is a handbook for those who are giving advice on research methods in the social and behavioral sciences, including medicine and epidemiology.

It takes the perspective of a statistical advisor who wants to assist researchers to produce better – more accurate, valid, and reliable – results. The book is explicitly intended to be used for instruction. Each chapter has an Exercise section, while the chapter texts are interspersed with ‘Topics for classroom discussion’.

As to the contents: the book follows the research cycle. It starts from general considerations on research quality and publishing, then discusses different design strategies, the choice and construction of measurement instruments and the data analysis process including the interpretation of the analysis results. The first imprint of the book has been indexed for Google books This makes it possible to have a good look at the contents:

Reviews. A positive review by Peter Wludyka, (University of North Florida; I am fond of the book's opening sentence reminding the reader that a consultant should be ``available, affable, and able'' in decreasing order of importance. and, The authors have produced a useful book that someone in the early stages of a consulting career should find especially helpful and easy to use) has appeared in the Reviews of Books and Teaching Materials section of the November 2009 issue of The American Statistician.
It can be found here.

Another very favorable review by Yves Laberge (Laval University, Canada; Advising on research methods is one of the most impressive books on methodology I have read in recent years. and Herman Adèr, Don Mellenbergh and David Hand have made a tremendous job…), appeared in the Febuary 2011 issue of the Journal of Applied Statistics.
The review can be studied here.

Table of contents

1. Giving advice on research methods; 2. Methodological consultancy problems; 3. Methodological Quality; 4. Dissemination and publishing.
Sampling and Design
5. Sampling 6. General issues of research design 7. Research designs: Description, exploration and prediction 8. Research designs: Testing of research hypotheses
9. Surveys 10. Tests and questionnaires: Construction and administration 11. Tests and questionnaires: Analysis
Data analysis: Basics
12. Modelling 13. Missing and biasing information 14. Phases and initial steps in data analysis 15. The main analysis phase
Data analysis: Techniques
16. The analysis of longitudinal designs 17. Regression analysis and beyond 18. Principal component and factor analysis 19. Epilogue: Structural equation modelling

About the authors

Herman Adèr
has been a statistical consultant for many years, both at the department of Psychology and the department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics of Free University, Amsterdam. With Gideon J. Mellenbergh, he has been the editor of the book ‘Research Methodology’ (Sage, 1999) in which the theoretical foundations of general methodology were explored.
Gideon J. Mellenbergh
is emeritus professor of Psychological Methods at the Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam. He has a long-standing experience in methodological consultancy in different fields, such as clinical and health psychology, industrial and organizational psychology, educational research, social dentistry, and psychiatry.
David J. Hand
is emeritus Professor of Statistics at Imperial College, London, UK. He has wide-ranging consultancy experience to organizations ranging from banks, through pharmaceutical companies, to governments. He has published fifteen books, and is the founding editor and continuing editor-in-chief of the journal of Statistics and Computing.


Until 2015, Herman Adèr and Gideon Mellenbergh have given several courses using the book as material.
One of these was a six week research masters’ course at the department of Psychological Methods of the University of Amsterdam.  
During the course a booklet with selected topics was produced, written by course participants and edited by Adèr and Mellenbergh.
These booklets each have their own website:

ARM: Selected topics 2011,
ARM: Selected topics 2012,
ARM: Selected topics 2013,
ARM: Selected topics 2014,
ARM: Selected topics 2015


Last update: September 7, 2016
© Johannes van Kessel Publishing