These recommended readings are sorted from general to specific: from resources for any kind of research student to resources for research students in my own field, finance.
My criteria for inclusion in this list are readability, self-containment, brevity and coverage.
For Research Students in any Field
One of the very basic books titled The Research Student’s Guide to Success is for postgraduate research students working for research degrees in institutions of higher education wherever the language of instruction is English. Irrespective of field of study, it will make their work and life more productive, effective and enjoyable.
Writing is the default and most critical activity in obtaining a research degree.
“A discovery isn’t a discovery unless you can communicate that discovery.”
A lot of academic writing is horrible, and it tends to be horrible in multiple ways: presentation, ordering, clarity, style, and sometimes even grammar and punctuation. I’ve written my fair share of unreadable papers, but writing better is something I’ve begun to take seriously.
Better writing makes peer reviewers inclined to invest time in it.
The Chicago Manual of Style is an indispensable reference to me (and I belive all research students will feel the same) when it comes to being pedantic.
A number of research students and academics find it very difficult to write good research papers and theses despite having good grasp over their areas of expertise. A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses and Dissertations is relevant to any kind of academic or technical writing. It answered long-held questions I had about issues like the use of the passive voice and the use of first-person pronouns in academic writing. It works as a classic reference for me when I need to write good articles.
For Research Students in Finance & Economics
Knowledge of econometrics and statistics is a prerequisite for any researcher in finance and economics, especially when they are doing quantitative research. For econometrics, I found an awesome handy reference in Basic Econometrics. For a research students who donot have very sound background in algebra and higher mathematics, this book gives a very comprehensive and useful explaination of all the econometric tools and techniques with applications thereof.
The other book which I have been using during my entire research period is Research Method & Methodology in Finance & Accounting. Research is an ever-increasing vital feature of academic accounting and finance, but few researchers are ever offered guidance on the research process. This is the only book of its kind as it focuses on academic rather than student research. The text provides a clear, well-written guide to research in these subjects. This essential book, for both students and lecturers, has now been fully revised and updated, to include all of the advances made on the subject in the last 10 years.
My core research area is Behavioral Finance. And I believe that researchers in Behavioral Finance must have a look at the great account by Hersh Shefrin titled Beyond Greed and Fear: Understanding Behavioral Finance and Psychology of Investing. This book throws lights on almost every aspect of investor psychology in a comprehensive manner. I am damn sure all its readers would be more than agree with me when it comes to acknowledge the utility of this book for behavioral finance researchers.
For Those Who are Completing Their PhD
Most of us do PhD to pursue a career in academia. The academic job hunt is a brutal process. After you start your academic career, your first year as an assistant professor is busy. Being prepared helps. Fortunately, there are some books.
Tomorrow’s Professor should be in every research student’s hands at least two years before they finish their PhD. It explains the research-student-to-junior-faculty metamorphosis with a lot of examples and details.
Most importantly, it covers construction of the standard materials required to perform an academic job search (cover letter, curriculum vitæ, research statement and teaching statement).
Apart from these (and also other ones obviously) books, reading relevant research papers and journals/magazines regularly did help me shape my PhD better. For list of other relevant books and research papers/articles, interested research students may get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.