Read together

PhD research involves a lot of reading. These are the books I read. They might also be of interest to you. Of course, if you have reading tips for me, I’d love to hear them too. And if you’re reading along, I’m curious what you think. Let me know.

Tip: Most of the books are on, where you can read academic books easily and inexpensively with an annual subscription. (Use this link then I get a 3 month discount, yay).

Books about (making) services

Good services by Lou Downe (2020): Downe provides 15 principles of what constitutes good services. I summarized them earlier in this blog. They explain each principle well with appealing real-world examples.

Public service logic by Stephan Osborne (2021): is about creating value for public service users, citizens, and society through public service delivery. I probably want to use this way of thinking as a theoretical starting point for my research.

This is service design thinking by Marc Stickdorn, Jakob Schneider and others (2012): practical book on service design: what it is, how to do it and a rich overview of methods and how to apply them.

The service organization by Kate Tarling (2023): am reading this now, commentary to follow later. Book is a bit more about how you set up your organization for good services. Am curious.

Books on doing (action) research

Doing action research in your own organization by David Coghlan (2019): the bible for me right now. The title explains itself. In this book you will find everything you need to set up your action research from within your own organization, conduct it and write about it in a thesis.

Introduction to action research by Davydd Greenwood and Morten Levin (2007): fine introduction to action research as a research method. Explains the basics that action research must meet and gives a rough overview of the field and the different flavors out there.

The reflective practitioner by Donald Schön (1994): I read this one while making the photo interviews for The Compassionate Civil Servant. Very good book about reflecting as you go, about reflection-in-action.

Qualitative data analysis by Matthew Miles, Michael Huberman and Johnny Saldanā (2014): still reading. But love the detailed explanation of how to meticulously analyze your data. Dear Data meats Academic life.

Books about doctoral studies

If you still have a silent desire, start with these pills(s).

Handboek Buitenpromoverenby Floor Basten and Kerstin van Tichelen (2013): with all the practical steps you need to take before, during and after your PhD.

Promoveren als bijbaan by Meike Bokhorst and Pauline Westerman (2021): about the personal side of doing a PhD alongside your job. And there are some nice acquaintances in there if you are also from the government, like me.

The craft of research by Wayne Booth, and others (2008): gives an overview of what it means to do scientific research and is a nice to read at the beginning so it’s all a little less impressive.