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Scientific research as a career - Finlay MacRitchie

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Scientific research as a career
Finlay MacRitchie
Paperback / softback
CRC Press
UK Publication Date

Describing the philosophy of the scientific method and the training and professional characteristics needed for a successful career, Scientific Research as a Career is a comprehensive "how-to" guide for the aspiring scientist. Based on the author's experience both as a scientist in a research organization and as a university mentor, the book covers:

  • The interaction between management and leadership principles and scientific research
  • Qualifications and attributes usually required to become a successful researcher
  • History, application, and prerequisites of the scientific method and scientific progress
  • Exploration of the careers of pivotal and influential scientists

The author highlights the importance of networking and the value of forming contacts with colleagues, joining scientific associations, attending conferences, making presentations, and acting as chairs for conference sessions. He also touches on the many areas outside of "the science" that readers are likely to encounter during their career, such as mentoring, supervising research students, and managing a group. The book clearly delineates not only the challenges currently facing scientists, but also how to overcome them and achieve success in their careers.

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MacRitchie shows how much struggle and effort is necessary to carry out a scientific career, including the necessary of dedication in studies and work, the difficulty in finding food ideas for research projects, the care in supervision of students, but above all the importance of dealing with people. This is an important aspect that demands considerable self-preparation and is not very often addressed in the education of Ph.D. students, since it requires experience rather than explanations. The author's personal experiences are given as examples of how a scientific career requires stamina, determination, and also wisdom. In this sense, the book is provocative. It is definitively worth reading by both those intending to get information on how to proceed into a scientific path and established scientists who consider that their work is a bit more than just getting good publications.
-Roberto G. S. Berlinck, Univerisdade de So Paulo, Brazil, in Journal of Natural Products, 2012

This book provides an interesting, unique approach to research careers in the sciences. MacRitchie (emer.. Kansas State Univ.) does not just describe preparing for and attaining jobs but also includes provocative descriptions and opinions about hindrances to careers, especially the effects of research management. He discusses the motivation and breadth of knowledge needed and the value of critical thinking. The author also addresses the differences in graduate training in the sciences, the scientific method, science versus nonscience, dead-end hypotheses, and required attributes of scientists. … MacRitchie provides career advice in a Dilbert-like style, and the chapters on management and leadership abound with horror/war stories of bad research management. Describing the pitfalls as well as the glories of scientific research is admirable, and anyone contemplating a scientific research career will benefit from reading this work. It is also useful for those influencing management and public policy in the sciences. Summing Up: Recommended.
- CHOICE Magazine, APril 2012

"This will be a very important resource for beginning scientists especially so that they can see what the field is like, especially this all important topic of how to build prestige and a track record for excellence."
-John D 'Angelo, Alfred University, New York

Keyword Index
Research - Vocational guidance.|Science - Vocational guidance.
Country of Publication
Number of Pages

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