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  1.  Understanding Published Research in Healthcare and Social Care    


    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)
      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)
      4. Select a published health or social care study from the research abstracts on Moodle, and examine and justify how the method used was selected. NB You may use a study that you have previously referred to for question 2. (Criterion 2.2)
      5. Using 2 examples from the research abstracts on Moodle, explain the ethical considerations that need to be determined when undertaking research. Again, you will be referring to studies that you have written about for questions 2 and 4. (Criterion 3.1)
      6. Choose 1 of the studies from the research abstracts on Moodle. Evaluate its ‘validity’ and make suggestions for improvements to the research methodology used. (Criterion 4.1)



Subject Research Analysis Pages 9 Style APA



Research in healthcare and social care is an important activity which assists the individuals, communities, and healthcare institution to identify some of the problem people are facing and provide solutions to such issues. There are several methods of conducting a research which present different types of researches It is in this context that depending on the setting, an appropriate type and method of research should be conducted in order to provide a meaningful result. It is important to for the researcher to identify the types of research which is suitable depending on the situation. This paper, therefore, provides an overview on different types of data, types of research methods, and other important factors to consider while doing a research such as validity and ethical considerations.

Difference between Primary and Secondary Data

            Primary data refers to data obtained first-hand by the researchers, regarding variables of interest, for particular purposes of the research. It is new information gathered by the researcher himself or herself for a specific purpose. The data is directly collected from the respondents or participants and it can either be quantitative or qualitative research. Primary data is gathered through observation, interviews, questionnaires, experimental studies, and focused group discussions (Creswell & Creswell, 2017, p. 131). On the other hand, secondary data refer to data neither gathered by the user nor meant for the user. It encompasses collecting information that had already been gathered by other individuals in the past. Data is collected through gathering and analyzing published information and materials from external sources such as government reports, official statistics, internet information, historical data, and mass media products.

            One of the major differences between primary and secondary data is that primary data is first hand or fresh information which is individually gathered by the researcher for a particular purpose while secondary data is information attained or got through the study of the reports of other studies (Creswell & Creswell, 2017, p. 101). Primary data is subsumed more valid and reliable compared to secondary data as the researcher individually carry out research using research methods like questionnaires, surveys, observation and interviews to obtain or gather the wanted information. On the other hand, secondary data is less reliable and accurate as the researcher relies on second-hand information such as the newspapers, television, and internet.

            Some of the advantages of primary data are that it is more reliable since it involves first-hand data, it is up to date; the researcher can choose his own sample size; it consists of tailored questions; and allows one to get quality information. The disadvantages, on the other hand, include: Hawthorne effect; sample size may be limited therefore less reliable results; bias due to personal interpretation of data; and may have leading questions. Conversely, some of the advantages of secondary data include: readily available information; offers a larger pool for data collection; speeds up research process; enables comparison of results of different researchers; information can be cross-checked quite often; avails a lot of data to choose from; adds to knowledge and understanding; and enables access to large sample sizes. Contrariwise, the disadvantages include possible biased information; Hawthorne effect may affect the results; information may not be genuine or accurate; difficulty to verify information; and sometimes the sample size may not be known.

Difference between Qualitative and Quantitative Data

Quantitative data is concerned with graphs and statistics. It measures calculable or quantifiable terms which describe ‘how many,’ ‘how long,’ and ‘how much’ whereas qualitative data measures the logical reasons behind behavior like ‘why’ and ‘how.’ An example of include of quantitative and qualitative include data contained in the National Patient Survey and patient’s opinion on depression respectively. The main difference between the two research designs is that qualitative method is subjective whereas quantitative is objective (Creswell & Creswell, 2017, p. 102).

Quantitative research design focuses on numbers or quantities whereas qualitative research uses words to elucidate an array of concepts which cannot be mathematically captured.  Quantitative research offers insights into the problem under investigation and aids to develop hypotheses or ideas for a potential study or research. It generates numerical information or data which can be easily converted into numbers. One of the main advantages of quantitative research is that its outcome is easy to measure and can clearly be represented through the objective data. The quantitative data can also be used to forecast or predict the future due to the repeatable data it provides. It allows for quick collection of data due to its planning process and its data can also be fairly and quickly analyzed. An abstract from “The role of masculinity in men’s help-seeking for depression: A systematic review” by Seidler et al (2016) is an example of a quantitative research.

 On the other hand, qualitative research is used to disclose trends in opinions and thought, and dive deep into the problem under study. For example, an abstract from “Obesity/overweight and the role of working conditions: a qualitative, participatory investigation” by Punnett, (2016) is a typical example of qualitative research with qualitative data. It generates non-numerical information or data and has the ability to intensely probe and find rich descriptive information regarding social phenomena via observation and interviews. One of the leading advantages of qualitative research is that it allows the researcher to deeply explore the topics. It is also less expensive compared to the quantitative method, and provides flexibility insofar as timing and location because the researchers do not need to interview a large populace at the same time.

Main Research Methods Available to Health and Social Care Researchers

            Research methods are systematic plans which are used to conduct a research. There are many research methods that can be used by health and social care researchers to carry out studies. They are categorized into different categories which include qualitative, quantitative, secondary and primary methods. However, this section will discuss primary and secondary research methods.

Primary research methods

The first method is the use of a questionnaire, which refers to a means of eliciting attitudes, perceptions, experiences, beliefs, or feelings of certain people. It is a mishmash of written questions of standardized and uniform questions (Creswell & Creswell, 2017, p. 132). A questionnaire is a research instrument which consists of several questions or any other prompts whose main objective in a research study is to gather information which can be used for the analysis and determine the result of the study. Notably, one of the advantages of questionnaire is that it often quick depending on the number of questions asked and it also provides first hand information. On the other hand, it can be misleading when the respondent is not honest.

The second primary method is observation, which involves the researcher watching certain activities and tasks as they take place. The approach provides the researchers with direct evidence on events or activities. It is carried out in a natural behavior, thus, reduces bias and allows the researcher record the natural behavior. According to the study conducted by Bryman (2016, p. 39), it is one of the most widely used method for collecting qualitative data for a research study. Fieldworks makes the most participant observation exploratory and descriptive and has the fewest fast and hard rules. Just like questionnaire, it provides the researcher with first-hand information.

            The third method is interviews, which encompasses presentation of oral-verbal provocations in terms of oral response. It is a good method of primary research or study since it enables the researcher to get immediate answers to all the questions the interviewer has and it can be used for both quantitative and qualitative data. Interview can be conducted through telephone or face-to-face (Bryman, 2016, p. 101). Despite being expensive and time consuming, interviews allows the interviewer to clarify questions and can be used among the illiterates as well as with young children.

            Another method available to by health and social care researchers is experiment. It involves testing various assumptions trail in a controlled milieu. An experiment is a practical way for the researchers to collect information or data, make discoveries as well as conduct hypothesis testing. It allows the healthcare researchers to test particular medications on invalids to determine their effectiveness or side effects.

Secondary Research Methods

The health and social care researchers can use secondary methods such as online search, books, and documents to collect data. Online research can be used collect new information, update services, and make comparisons while documents is an inexpensive method that provides detailed information about an individual. Examples of a document include medical records, birth certificate, and historical information (Bryman, 2016, p. 111) Documents are usually easy to access and provide detailed secondary data about an individual.

Another secondary research method that is widely used currently is the internet. A study conducted by Ary et al., (2018, p. 121) questions the authenticity of the internet as some information are misleading and may not be used to complete an accurate research method. However, it is important to note that there are certain sites which have credible information that are important for the researchers.

Examination and Justification of the method used

 In “Healthy eating, activity and obesity prevention: a qualitative study of parent and child perceptions in Australia” the researchers used primary data collection method which was questionnaire to obtain qualitative data (Hesketh, Waters, Green, Salmon, & Williams, 2005). The primary aim of the research was asses the perception of health and physical activity as ways of reducing or preventing obesity. Particularly, most of people especially children do not believe that health eating and regular physical activities can reduce obesity. Some people believe that obesity is genetic in nature and nothing can be done to reduce it (Bryman, 2016, p. 221). The method which was questionnaire through sampling of the parents and children was the most accurate way of obtaining the information needed about their perception on healthy eating and physical activity in prevention of obesity. The questionnaire provided raw information which has not been subjected to any form of biasness hence was important in arriving at the correct conclusion.

Ethical Considerations that Need to be Determined when Undertaking Research

Some of the ethical issues which need to be considered when carrying out research include confidentiality and consent. Confidentiality refers to a situation when vital information is kept secret between two persons until the individual to whom the information or data belongs to allows it disclosure. It entails the universal standard of professional conduct which gratifies health care providers not to discuss information or data about a patient with a third party. Confidentiality is certainly essential for all researchers to put into consideration and they have to keep information concerning respondent confidential and should never share the information without the participants’ permission. It is, however, sad to note that confidentiality was never maintained in “Ethical and legal issues in integrated care settings: Case examples from pediatric primary care” (Williamson et al. 2017). The respondents had medical issues that were never kept confidential, therefore, violating the principle of confidentiality.

One of the ethical issues is consent. It refers to an individual’s voluntary agreement to take part or participate in a study. The researcher, therefore, must not force the respondents to participate in the study and all respondents have the right to withdraw in a scenario they feel the research does not consider their interest. Participants can withdraw from a research, for example, when they begin feeling uncomfortable or change their mind in regards to the study. For example, in “Healthy eating, activity and obesity prevention: a qualitative study of parent and child perceptions in Australia” the researchers sought the consent of the participants before proceeding with the study (Hesketh, et al. 2005). A part of the research states that “A parent/guardian of each participating child provided written informed consent and children provided verbal assent prior to commencement of the focus groups. Parents provided written informed consent for their own participation (p. 12)”


Validity can be defined as the extent to which the score from a measure represents the variable they are intended to. Validity is the extent to which a concept conclusion or measurement is well-founded and likely corresponds accurately to the real world. Upon looking at the result of “Healthy eating, activity and obesity prevention: a qualitative study of parent and child perceptions in Australia” it is important to note that the result was valid as most parents and children did not perceive healthy eating or physical activity as one of the real cause of obesity (Walliman, 2017). It is in this context that selected groups were obese and could not reduce their weights. The validity of the study was also accomplished through the methods used which was the questionnaire after the consent of the participants were obtained that they will be honest throughout the study. However, the researches would have used a big sample size to provide an accurate perception. I feel the sample size was a bit small.





Ary, D., Jacobs, L. C., Irvine, C. K. S., & Walker, D. (2018). Introduction to research in education. Cengage Learning.

Bryman, A. (2016). Social research methods. Oxford university press.

Creswell, J. W., & Creswell, J. D. (2017). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Sage publications

Hesketh, K., Waters, E., Green, J., Salmon, L., & Williams, J. (2005). Healthy eating, activity and obesity prevention: a qualitative study of parent and child perceptions in Australia. Health promotion international, 20(1), 19-26.

Nobrega, S., Champagne, N., Abreu, M., Goldstein-Gelb, M., Montano, M., Lopez, I., … & Punnett, L. (2016). Obesity/overweight and the






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