|Neuroscience / Psychology 384 - Other Stuff|
Center for Perceptual Systems
Here are some other resources useful in this course.
Literature Searches - who's already done what ?:
Writing - think of these as tools you need in your toolbox:
"The Elements of Style" by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White.
This is a wonderful book on writing. The only reason I dont require it is that students already carry such a large textbook burden. It is a small paperback that can be yours for $6.00. It will pay you back copiously and is relevant to all forms of writing. You need this book.
Any text or reference on grammar. I use the Harbrace College Handbook that Ive had since ... well ... lets not get into that. I use it because it is designed so one can rapidly look up specific things. A more recent book along the same lines is "The Brief Penguin Handbook," which is nice because it also covers APA and other common styles.
"The Publication Manual of the APA"
This is the definitive book on formatting papers. Make sure you get the 5th edition. It undoes some of the moronic changes introduced in the 4th edition. Unfortunately, it does not return to the concise, easy-to-use reference style of the 3rd, but at least it isn't actively detrimental to the manuscript preparation process.
A good dictionary. Get one and use it. Few people, for example, know what "ironic" means but they still use the word. Dont be one of them.
A good thesaurus. There is often one best word for a given situation. You know it exists, but you cant quite think of it Dont compromise.
Modern data analysis requires software. The main things you want to be able to do are:
- visualize data (i.e. plot it in a bunch of differnt ways).
- run analyses such as statistical tests (if necessary).
- prepare pubilcation quality graphs.
I often use different software for different tasks depending on what I want or need to do. Use whatever you want, but make sure you can do the above three without too much cursing and gnashing of teeth.
Personally I use MATLAB, R, Excel, ProFit (only available for Mac), SPSS (occasionally) and, recently, Stata. I also use programs like Powerpoint, Illustrator, and Photoshop to do final tweeks to figures prior to publication.
Statistics - sometimes folks just cant get a certain concept. They stare and stare at the relevant page, but to no avail. In this situation, it is often helpful to get another source that covers the same information. Often, just having it presented to you in a different way can clear the fog.
I find these really useful. See "Links"
These recommendations are more for undergraduates than you folks, but it never hurts to have one or two relatively basic books around for reference...
Some short, inexpensive, and readable books on basic statistics are:
"How to Think About Statistics" by J. L. Phillips Jr. This is a nice, comprehensive coverage of basic statistics using a variety of examples. It can be yours for about $15.
"Statistics for the Terrified" by Kranzler and Moursund. This uses mostly psychology-based examples (in contrast to, e.g., the Phillips book). It seems to me that the primary concession to math-phobics was the addition of cartoons, so Im not sure its actually any more accessible to these folks than other statistics books. Nevertheless, its good.
Some good and more comprehensive books on basic statistics are:
"The Basic Practice of Statistics" by Moore. He has another book with a similar title (and perhaps a co-author) that covers about the same thing. Either is good, handy, and thorough.
"Basic Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences" by Hopkins, Hopkins, and Glass. I keep this one at home as a reference.
There are many other books on statistics - I happen to know about the above by luck as much as anything else - find one that looks comfortable to you, just make sure it covers the concept of "power."