Description: This is the first edition of a textbook on psychiatric clinical research methodology and analysis. It is largely based on a course taught by the authors at Duke University School of Medicine.
Purpose: The purpose of the book is to provide clinicians and students with an introductory overview of epidemiologic methods, and to enable a more extensive and critical understanding of journal reports. Though many general textbooks include a chapter on research methodology, few cover the topic with such clarity or detail.
Audience: According to the authors, the book is written for all mental health practitioners, ranging from psychiatrist to social worker. This appears to be somewhat overstated. While the authors do a nice job of covering research methodology, it is doubtful that all mental health clinicians require this degree of research knowledge to understand a journal study. In fact, the book seems more aptly targeted at residents or students newly introduced to journal studies, or mental health professionals interested in pursuing academia or research.
Features: The book consists of mostly text with frequent tables and figures to provide specific highlights. In addition, each chapter ends with a question and answer session which serves to nicely reinforce new learning and understanding. The table of contents and index appear adequate, and references are reasonably current, though most of the information presented is not time-sensitive. One omission that stands out is the absence of a section containing the more common rating instruments, which could help readers better understand research methods.
Assessment: This is a useful overview of the anatomy and physiology of mental health research. It appears most appropriate for novices or those pursuing a career in academia or clinical research. Non-academic clinicians may derive little benefit from this book, which has no clinical value other than as a primer for the critical evaluation of research studies. Therefore, purchase of this book can be recommended only for a select audience.