Three Books Every Researcher Should Read in 2023

Published Jan 27, 2023

Marie Hense, Vice President of Data Quality at Toluna

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Originally published by Research Live.

With the beginning of a new year, it is time to dust off the reading list. Marie Hense recommends three books to kick off 2023.


With the calendar having flipped to 2023, people across the globe are working on accomplishing their New Year’s resolutions. And if you’re like me, reading more is a goal that makes the list every year.

If you’re looking to delve into some reading as well, I’ve come up with a list of three recommendations that should be on every researcher’s list in 2023. Between the topics of data management, psychology, and data analysis, there’s hopefully something for everyone to get inspiration and ideas to take back to their work.

Data Management

Title: Data Management for Researchers: Organise, maintain and share your data for research success
Author: Kristin Briney
Description: Put your hand up if you’ve ever

1. Spent too much time looking for data in your organisation’s folder system

2. Run a project just to realise that you already had data to answer your research question—you just didn’t know it was there

3. Picked up somebody else’s project just to spend several hours or days trying to figure out which of the data files is most recent and how it was manipulated.

In today’s world, data is essential to business processes, and data organisation is the one thing that will make or break your success in the long-term. I know it may not sound like the most exciting topic, but effective organisation of data makes the difference between a business that uses data and a business that uses data efficiently.

This is where the worlds of research and data collide. Briney’s book gives us commercial researchers some great tools and ideas from the world of scientific research on how to organise our data effectively. In my eyes, proactively thinking about data integration at the project design stage is one of the key emerging skills for researchers and therefore lands this book at number one on my list for 2023.


Title: Predictably Irrational
Author: Dan Ariely
Description: In many ways, the world has been turned upside down over the last three years. The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, followed by the war in Ukraine and a resulting economic crisis, have been felt around the world. As a result, consumer attitudes, behaviours and opinions have been impacted like at almost no other time in recent history.

With these changes, we’ve seen interesting patterns emerge: a rise of mistrust in governments, growing disparity into opposing camps regarding science and vaccines, and wholly irrational behaviour — remember the mountains of toilet paper people purchased in the early months of 2020?

As researchers, we have the difficult task of analysing and trying to predict what the future will hold. Ariely’s book is a classic when it comes to understanding certain psychological principles that underpin human behaviour, and in these times of expecting the unexpected it is a must-read for anybody working with behaviour or attitude-related research.

Data Analytics

Title: Moneyball
Author: Michael Lewis
Description: If you’re a fan of a good book adaptation into a film, this classic from Michael Lewis is for you. But it should also be on your book list if you like lateral thinking with data. Many will have already ticked off Moneyball from reading or film lists in the past, but it’s a great reminder that data can be used in many different ways — and that the answer doesn’t necessarily lie at the surface level. And if it seems like it does, it may not be the best answer.

As researchers, we often need to ensure we connect several data sources, interpret, check, and contextualise before we get to an insight. We need to combine data instead of just going for the immediately obvious, even if that seems easier. Moneyball illustrates just that, and in an entertaining way to boot.

Whether you’re a researcher, a data scientist, or a project manager, whether you work on the client or agency side or whether you work in research technology, we should never stop looking for inspiration from different sources, viewpoints and disciplines. After all, us researchers are known for our curiosity and desire to understand things. So hopefully there’s a little nugget of inspiration or knowledge for you in each of the books on this year’s list.

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