Andrew Balmer and Anne Murcott

This chapter explores the use of the techniques and tools developed in the preceding chapters in the context of writing a longer piece of work, i.e. a dissertation. It shows that each chapter of a dissertation can be thought of as a response to a set of implicit questions which a reader might have about the dissertation, and guides students through writing their dissertation with these questions in mind. It details what is expected of a literature review, a methodology and a findings section in a sociological dissertation. The chapter shows that the argument in a dissertation has to be developed in each individual section.

in The craft of writing in sociology
Open Access (free)
Linda Davies and Gemma Shields

Evidence is needed to inform and guide the choices that healthcare organisations make in relation to how budgets are spent. The associated costs and benefits of health treatments are key components of such decisions. An economic evaluation is a way of systematically identifying the costs and benefits of different health activities and comparing these to make an informed decision about the best course of action based on the evidence available. Economic evaluations can also be used to identify uncertainty around the likely costs of a particular health activity and to compare this against a ‘willingness to pay’ threshold, in order to judge their value for money. This chapter examines the key parts of economic evaluations and the data that feed into them, and considers how the results of economic evaluations can be interpreted.

in A research handbook for patient and public involvement researchers
in A research handbook for patient and public involvement researchers
Helen Brooks, Penny Bee and Anne Rogers

This chapter provides an explanation of what qualitative data is, and gives examples of different analysis methods and the factors that influence how and why they are chosen. Analysing data by looking for common themes (known as thematic analysis) is one of the most common ways in which researchers approach data they have gathered. There are various criticisms levelled at qualitative analysis including issues relating to validity, reliability and credibility. Researchers can address these through a range of methods including triangulation of data, member validation, careful sampling and transparency of approach.

in A research handbook for patient and public involvement researchers
Helen Brooks, Penny Bee and Anne Rogers

Three main types of qualitative research methods were used within the EQUIP programme of work and these form the focus of this chapter: in-depth interviews, focus groups and observations. Throughout the chapter, the authors look at allied publications resulting from EQUIP as a way of providing examples of real life research to support the description of the methodological approaches provided. This chapter presents the three types of qualitative research methods, discusses the factors that influence the choice of research method, and gives practical advice on how to utilise qualitative research methods.

in A research handbook for patient and public involvement researchers
Kelly Rushton and Owen Price

A systematic review is a vital part of the research process. It forms a clear and rigorous summary of existing evidence relating to a treatment, presented in a useful and comprehensible way to inform other healthcare professionals’ decision-making. This chapter breaks down each stage of the systematic review process, inviting the reader to critically consider a range of methods and techniques for the inclusion and analysis of studies and their findings.

in A research handbook for patient and public involvement researchers
in A research handbook for patient and public involvement researchers
Andrew C. Grundy

This chapter defines and introduces the different stages of the research process: from identifying a problem, to reviewing the literature; then developing a research question; designing a study; obtaining funding and ethical approval; recruiting participants; collecting and analysing data; and reporting and disseminating findings. This chapter outlines how users of health services, their carers and family members, and other members of the public can be involved in these different research stages, and demonstrates the impact that this involvement can have. Examples of different ways of involving and engaging public members in research studies are drawn from the Enhancing the Quality of User-Involved Care Planning in Mental Health Services (EQUIP) research programme.

in A research handbook for patient and public involvement researchers
Owen Price and Lauren Walker

It is of great importance that research projects are informed by sound ethics, properly planned, approved by an independent ethical board and rigorously monitored throughout the duration of the study. This chapter introduces four principles that govern the conduct of ethical research using relevant case examples to bring each principle to life. Topics explored include ‘informed consent’, capacity to provide consent, minimising and managing harm and the fair and equal treatment of study participants.

in A research handbook for patient and public involvement researchers
Open Access (free)
Designing and road testing new measurement scales
Patrick Callaghan

This chapter will examine the origins of measurement scales in research by considering the science of psychological testing. In particular the chapter provides a brief definition of a measurement scale, outlines why scales are used, examines the design and evaluation of scales, discusses what the responses to scales mean, outlines advantages and limitations of their use, and provides examples of measurement scales developed and used in the EQUIP project and other published mental health research. In recent years, as a response to criticisms that measurement scales are often not patient-oriented, we have seen increasing emphasis placed on the development of Patient Reported Outcomes Measures (PROMs). These tend to be less focussed on symptoms and more on the everyday experiences of people using services. They are much more likely to be designed and developed in collaboration with service users. The EQUIP research project developed a good quality PROM for assessing user and carer involvement in care planning, the first such measure of its kind in mental health.

in A research handbook for patient and public involvement researchers