Understanding Published Research in Health and Social Care
Demonstrates excellent understanding of different perspectives or approaches associated with the area of study.
To achieve a Distinction:
Taken as a whole demonstrates an excellent response to the demands of the brief/assignment.
For a Distinction in addition to the above you should: (i) Demonstrate use of technical terms relating to research methodology [GD1]. (ii) You should evaluate at least 4 methods of primary research and 5 methods of secondary research [GD11]. (iii) You will be expected to use the Harvard system of referencing and bibliography accurately for your secondary research sources [GD7]. (iv)
ACCESS TO HEALTH AND HUMAN SCIENCES
RESEARCH CREDIT 4 – UNDERSTANDING PUBLISHED RESEARCH IN HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE (RESEARCH METHODS)
GUIDANCE – MAY 2019
The purpose of this credit is for you to be able to demonstrate your ability to assess examples of published research within the field of health and social care, by utilising your knowledge of research methodologies.
Your assignment should have a front cover with the title, and a Contents page. Number each of the 6 questions, and annotate each one. As appropriate, you need to clearly state which pieces of research you are discussing, and include a bibliography at the end of your assignment. The bibliography should include any citations, any material you have read to assist you in completing the assignment and the research extracts that you have referred to.
1. Explain the difference between ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ data. Using 1 example of each, evaluate when it might be appropriate to undertake and use primary research, and when secondary research; giving reasons why? (Criterion 2.1)
2. Explain the difference between qualitative and quantitative data. Give 1 example of each using the health and social care research abstracts reproduced on Moodle. (Criterion 1.1)
3. Evaluate the main research methods available to health and social care researchers, ensuring that you differentiate between ‘primary’ methods and ‘secondary’ methods. (Criterion 2.1)
Research is a process of collection of data relating to a particular topic for a precise purpose. Research can take a given period time including days, months and years depending on the information the researcher is looking for. There a number of methods for conducting research. All methods are aimed at providing a valid and verifiable outcome. Therefore, this paper outlines an overview of research methods including, types of data, methods of data collection, ethics and validity using the Moodle the information collected from Moodle’s abstracts.
Primary and secondary data (Criterion 2.1)
Primary data refers to the firsthand information collected by an observer. It includes all the original information that researchers themselves collect through interviews, observations, case studies, questionnaires, life histories, longitudinal and ethnographic research. The data may also be collected by looking at the secondary data before. When collecting primary data, individuals have a chance to decide how they conduct their study without any limitations. The researchers can allocate themselves adequate time and chose the most preferred audience or groups of people to aid in providing the required information (Hamilton, 2005, Pp. 12-24). Primary data is collected by individuals for their own purpose and from people of their choice. The methods of collection of data depend on the research goals and the depth and the type of information that the researcher seeks to obtain.
Primary data, for example, would be appropriate where a doctor collects information from a patient through an interview. This kind of information would help a doctor to obtain reliable information about the history of a particular disease including how long the patient has been suffering before conducting a test to establish the real problem. Getting information about the history of illness enables a doctor to know the appropriate test to conduct on the patient.
Secondary data, on the other hand, refers to already published data and data collected in the past through primary methods. Secondary data includes information obtained from the mass media products, letters, government reports, internet sources, historical information, diaries, and official statistics. The secondary data is easy to get since the information is already available in the books, websites, magazines and other already published sources. However, this information can take the researchers a lot of time to acquire relevant information for the study. An example where secondary data would be applied by sociologists to establish the impact of legislative changes in the society. Here, researchers may consider looking for information from official government sites and reports of what happened in the past and how the happenings previously impacted on the society.
Quantitative and Qualitative data (Criterion 1.1)
Qualitative data defines characteristics and qualities. It is usually collected in a narrative form via interviews, observation, and questionnaires. When counselors and psychologists want to get insights on people’s emotions, for example, they seek individuals’ opinions and not numbers. Using one of the selected abstracts entitled “Patients’ perceptions of entitlement to time in general practice consultations for depression,” A qualitative research was conducted where patients with mild to moderate depressions were interviewed. The study involved eight general practices in West Midlands and the regional membership of the Depression Alliance. The participants included 32 general practice patients and 30 from the Depression Alliance (Pollock, 2002, Pp. 5-27). The setting of the involved eight general practices in the West Midlands and the regional membership of the Depression Alliance. The research outcome established a mismatch between their senses of own entitled time and the capacity of the doctors to respond effectively towards extending the time of consultations, especially when needed. Using this abstract, it is important to note that face to face interview was effective in obtaining useful information on depression. The information acquired from the patients were used as supporting material on patients’ perceptions about depression. The interview presented factual and in-depth information used for making an informed decision on the depression on the article entitled, “Patients Perceptions of Entitlement to Time in General Practice Consultations for Depression”
Quantitative data is data used by researchers when quantifying problems. Quantitate data is important towards addressing and finding solutions to the aspects of problem like “how many” or “what” (Creswell & Creswell, 2017, p. 32).This kind of data can be counted or compared on a numerical scale. It involves data in form of numbers that are presented in forms charts, tables, graphs among others. Usually, this method is based on quantity for the purpose of the study. Using the article, ‘Listening to Patients – National Patients Survey Illustration Hospital Trust, and NHS Trust, ’the NHS conducted a survey where a total of 850 participants were contacted, 21 declined leaving 829 participants (West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust,2016, Pp. 1-15). Here, data was collected from the participants and converted into percentages to enhance the numerical reading.
The research methods used. (Criterion 2.1)
Health and social care practitioners need to establish where they can find the evidence and how they can evaluate the found evidence. To achieve their objectives, they need to use various methods and techniques available to tackle the different problems they meet in their profession. Usually, these methods are classified into primary and secondary methods.
Some of the primary methods are highlighted below.
Social care and health researchers use observation to watch particular tasks and activities. Observation is an effective method since it provides researchers with evidence. Hence, observers can look at participants and judge their performance. One disadvantage of this method is that the participants can get pressure from the observer affecting their performance.
Fieldwork is a practical carried out by researchers in a natural setting and not in the offices of laboratories. Through fieldwork, the researcher obtains information that is in-depth and reliable that can be used in establishing professional relationships and getting an insight into individual participants. Fieldwork is usually expensive and time-consuming and proves difficult for sociologists.
Surveys are essential when investigating people and the group’s experience and opinions. It is conducted by asking questions to the respondents. Surveys are advantageous since researchers can obtain quick and large data effectively with ease. Surveys can be done via paper or online through mobile phones and computers. The method is also cost effective since it can be completed online; this reduces paperwork and traveling costs incurred when conducting face-to-face surveys. However, the information collected through surveys can be unreliable since they is lack of evidence. Furthermore, the information collected cannot be changed once the survey is done. Before conducting surveys, researchers must think about the designs that would be effective in obtaining the required information.
Experiments are practically carried out in and outside laboratories. Experiments prove the research standard. Sometimes, practical involves repetitive methods or interpretation of results. Professionals conducting experiments usually know the variables they are looking for, hence, it is likely to obtain accurate results.
While the primary methods of collecting data are essential for social care and health researchers, secondary methods play a pivotal role in research too. Some of the secondary methods are outlined below.
Articles are an important source of information for social care and health researchers. Articles provide descriptive and detailed information. They are often found in magazines, the internet, and newspapers (Walliman, 2017, Pp. 23). However, researchers should always be keen because articles can be outdated and the information may be too long to apply effectively.
Online research is an effective data collection method that is used in making comparisons, collecting new information and updating services. The method requires little expense since information can be collected on the websites and other already published online sources. However, the information obtained may not be accurate and reliable enough during the study because online information may contain irrelevant additional information.
This method involves gathering information about a similar subject and the information is collected repeatedly for a given time. Sometimes, it extends to years and decades hence consumes a lot of time. Besides, the people involved may have died making it difficult to prove the truthfulness of the information.
Documents are essential source of secondary information. Some of the documents that health and social care workers source information include medical records and historical information. However, documents may be difficult to access and track the owners for additional information.
Television documentaries update researchers with various information and knowledge about their field of specialization. Although, researchers cannot ask questions, they can take notes on sensitive issues as they watch.
The examination and justification of research methods (Criterion 2.2)
In the abstract, “Patients’ perceptions of entitlement to time in general practice consultations for depression,” a qualitative data was collected through face to face interview. The selected method of data collection was appropriate for collection of primary data. The interview was used because it allowed patients to discuss their condition freely without any form of pressure. Many patients usually get a limited time of consultations, seeking their opinion and thoughts on depression was practical through interview. The General Practice surgeries limit the tie patients’ time and freedom to express their depression perception. Further, surgeries limit the ability of patients to recognize what is going on. As a result, conducting an interview was an effective method of getting firsthand information on their depression condition. Using secondary data would not be effective in this case, as it would give inaccurate information about the patients’ condition. The selected method was best and effective to establish the depression characteristics among patients.
In another abstract, “listening to Patients – National Patients Survey Illustration Hospital Trust, and NHS Trust,” data was collected though survey. Although survey was used to collect data before converting them into percentage, I tend to believe that face to face interview would be more appropriate. Although survey was quick in collection information from 829 participants, the data collected must have not been very accurate as compared to face to face interview. Hence, the selected method was infective in getting patient’s opinions about health issues.
The ethical considerations. (Criterion 3.1)
In order to do the right thing, social care and health researchers must adhere to set ethical codes that guide their profession. Observing ethical codes builds trust among health researchers. Codes of ethics are not for researchers alone. Even the general public must be aware of the ethical codes before taking part in any research (BASW- British Association for Social Workers, The Code of ethics for Social Work, 2014). The ethical codes play vital roles in research. First, they help researchers plan their work. Second, the codes of ethics enable researchers to adhere to the research rules and guidelines. Ethical standards protect respondents. It enhances their protection, confidentiality, privacy and the ability to give information at their will. No one should be compelled to reveal any information to researchers, it should be done with willingness and good faith. Consent and confidentiality are sensitive issues that researchers must respect. Any person taking part in research should expect that the information he or she provides to the researchers will be treated with confidentiality. Consequently, the information provided by the respondent should not be exposed to any other party apart from those taking part in the research. Since researchers learn much about the personal information of the participants, they must keep this information confidential.
There is a need to observe various elements of ethics. In the abstract entitled. “Patients’ perceptions of entitlement to time in general practice consultations for depression,” the researcher must protect the confidentiality of patients’ information. Participants will only take part in the study upon an assurance of confidentiality of their information. Nonetheless, the information should be used according to the terms outlined in the agreement between the parties (SCPE- Standards of conduct, performance and ethics, 2016). Failure to keep the participants’ information confidential as possible would raise an ethical issue. In other words, the confidentiality of the client’s information is a sensitive matter when conducting research. Before participating in the study, the researchers would request the consent of the patients. Failure to obtain the consent of the patients when conducting an interview on depression would go against the ethical codes.
In the abstract, “Listening to Patients – National Patients Survey Illustration Hospital Trust, and NHS Trust,” the NHS must have the participants are debriefed about relevant issues before and after taking part in an experiment. There is need for NHS to answer the questions raised by the participants. Second, the right to protection of participants from any form of harm is fundamental. Experiments, for example, expose participants to a lot of harm such as physical injuries. Therefore, it the responsibility of the researcher to provide protective clothes and gadgets that would keep them from physical harm. Protection reduces the risks of participants of getting any form of injuries. Otherwise, NHS should consider the confident laity of participants of the research.
Research Validity (Criterion 4.1)
For research to be valid, it must meet the requirements of accuracy and reliability. Valid research must contain information that is genuine and justifiable. The methods applied in the research should present relevant results to the research problem. In simple terms, the validity of any research is founded on the accuracy of its conclusion and measurements.
In the research article entitled, “Listening to Patients – National Patients Survey Illustration Hospital Trust, and NHS Trust,” NHS required high response rate of approximately 60% from the survey. Since twenty-one participants declined, making the remaining number to be 829, the research would be more accurate using observation methods or by conducting face to face interviews. Surveys conducted via online could not produce more accurate results, hence putting its validity in question, this is due to the fact that a number of patients could lie and hide sensitive information.
In the abstract, “Patients’ perceptions of entitlement to time in general practice consultations for depression,” face to face interview was an effective approach towards obtaining firsthand information. The conclusions and measurements based on firsthand information are more accurate. Since the qualitative research was based on raw information obtained via face to face interview, the study on “Patients’ perceptions of entitlement to time in general practice consultations for depression,” was more valid.
Health and Social care is a very sensitive field that is given a lot of attention in the United Kingdom and the rest of the world. The performance of this sector is aided by continuous research. Research helps in providing solutions to a number of problems. Usually, a lot of energy is focused on the validity and effectiveness of the study. However, research validity depends on various issues. These issues include measurability, accuracy, justifiability, reliability and the ability of the study to be genuine. But, for all these validity factors to be achieved, researchers must choose appropriate methods of data collection depending on the information they searching for. Further, there must be appropriate ways of analyzing the collected information to reach a valid conclusion. Nonetheless, since research involve different participants (respondents and interviewers/ researchers,) there is a need to follow set ethical codes to ensure that the interests of all parties are taken care of. This paper has provided an on overview of two research abstract by Moodle.
Pollock, K. (2002). Patients’ perceptions of entitlement to time in general practice consultations for depression: qualitative study. Retrieved June 2, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC126657/
Creswell, J. W., & Creswell, J. D. (2017). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Sage publications
West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust. (2016). West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust. Retrieved June 2, 2019, Pp (1-15) from https://www.westhertshospitals.nhs.uk/
BASW- British Association for Social Workers, The Code of ethics for Social Work, (2014). Accessed