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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: Missing data in applied sciences is universal. No matter how well designed a study, data inevitably come up missing. This book addresses this issue and attempts to reframe missing data in a different context.
Purpose: The purpose is to make researchers aware of the types and extent of missing data, as well as the effect this has on research findings and ways to handle the missing data.
Audience: The book is intended for a wide range of researchers, but mostly those in clinical and applied fields. It is intended to be useful for students learning research methods, as well as for seasoned researchers looking to improve their handling of missing data. Each of the four authors who attempt to tackle this issue has a unique background and research experience. They have been tackling this issue apart and together for over a decade.
Features: An introduction to missing data begins the book, and includes a chapter on the types of missing data and the consequences. A subsequent chapter discusses enhancing study designs to minimize missing data. This includes particularly helpful suggestions for longitudinal studies, where dropout rates typically approach 50 percent. When the situation of missing data does occur, diagnostic procedures are described and later there is discussion on choosing the type of analysis with regard to the characteristics of the missing data. More specific ways of handing missing data are detailed toward the end of the book, with a nice chapter on reporting missing data at the end of the book. Each chapter is broken into small subsections that are quick and easy to read. Many tables and figures help to better describe the procedures. The references are relevant and recent in many cases. The book could be read from cover to cover, but pertinent chapters also could be referenced on an individual basis
Assessment: The information in this book is practical, judicious, and empirically sound. The authors have managed to compile a very useful book on an often repressed topic among researchers. For students, this is a worthwhile introduction that manages to avoid being too technical. Yet, there are very functional suggestions both in terms of study design and the handling of missing data that would be useful for seasoned researchers.