Research Methods in Health: Investigating Health and Health Services / Edition 3

Research Methods in Health: Investigating Health and Health Services / Edition 3

by Ann Bowling
Pub. Date:
McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
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Research Methods in Health: Investigating Health and Health Services / Edition 3

"The new edition of Research Methods in Health continues to provide an excellent broad based introduction to the subject. New or expanded sections, for example on the evaluation of complex interventions, mixed research methods, life history interviews, and socio-psychological theories make this third edition well worth purchasing. The content is clearly presented and at a suitable level for its intended audience of health professionals and post-graduate students in health and health-related social sciences."

Virginia Berridge, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK

"Research Methods in Health provides a comprehensive guide to the variety of methods for studying and assessing health and health services. The book not only covers all the topics you need regarding research methods, but also looks into the wider aspects of health and health services. I especially liked the way the book didn’t jump straight into research methods and methodology, but took time to introduce some of the main sociological and psychological concepts and ideas, as well as looking at demography and epidemiology ... Each chapter is introduced in easily understood terms and ends with the main points concisely summarized ... Throughout the book clear examples are very well used to build on our understanding of key concepts and at the end of the book is a very useful glossary of terms."

Conor Hamilton, Student Nurse, Queen's University Belfast, UK

"The additional information in this third edition, for example the coverage of mixed research methods and pertinent social science concepts makes the third edition of this book stand out as a preliminary source of information for anyone looking at research and health ... The summary of main points, key questions and key terms are outstanding and allow the book to be adapted into an essential revision tool as well as adding support and a focal point during reading the book."

Lisa Perraton, Student Nurse, University of Chester, UK

"A very simplified text book of research that guides students through different research designs/methodologies. I think this book must be recommended to every research student."

Moses Murandu, Wolverhampton University, UK

This bestselling book provides an accessible introduction to the theoretical concepts and descriptive and analytic research methods used in research on health and health services. The third edition has been thoroughly revised throughout to include updated references and boxed examples, with additional information on key methodological developments, among them:

  • Complex interventions
  • Mixed research methods
  • Psychometrics
  • Secondary data analysis
  • Systematic reviews
  • Pertinent social science concepts

The research methods described cover the assessment of health needs, morbidity and mortality trends and rates, costing health services, sampling for survey research, cross-sectional and longitudinal survey design, experimental methods and techniques of group assignment, questionnaire design, interviewing techniques, coding and analysis of quantitative data, methods and analysis of qualitative observational studies, and types of unstructured interviewing.

The book is grounded in the author's career as a researcher on health and health service issues, and the valuable experience this has provided in meeting the challenges of research on people and organisations in real life settings.

Research Methods in Health is an essential companion for students and researchers of health and health services, health clinicians and policy-makers with responsibility for applying research findings and judging the soundness of research.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780335233649
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
Publication date: 03/01/2009
Edition description: Older Edition
Pages: 496
Product dimensions: 6.70(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents


Section 1 – Investigating health services and health: the scope of research

Chapter 1: Evaluating health services: multidisciplinary collaboration

Health services research
Health technology assessment
The assessment of quality
Medical audit, clinical audit and quality assurance
Structure, process and outcome
Appropriateness and inappropriateness
Outcome and patient based outcome
Summary of main points
Key questions
Key terms
Recommended reading

Chapter 2: Social research on health: sociological and psychological concepts and approaches

Sociological and psychological research on health

1 Health and illness
The bio-medical model
The social model of health
Lay definitions of health
Lay theories of illness
Variations in medical and lay perspectives

2 Social factors in illness and responses to illness
Social variations in health: structural inequalities
Psycho-social stress and responses to stress to include mediators including self-efficacy, control
Stigma, normalisation and adjustment
The Sick Role and illness behaviour

3 Models of health behaviour
Health lifestyles
Health behaviour
Models of health-related actions to include theory of planned behaviour, self-efficacy and control

4 Health-related quality of life
Theoretical influences on measurement
Distinctions between measures of broader health status, quality of life and health related quality of life
Patient based outcome measures

5 Interactions between health professionals and patients
Patients evaluations of health care
Summary of main points
Key questions
Key terms
Recommended reading

Chapter 3: Health needs and their assessment: demography and epidemiology


1 The assessment of health needsHealth needs
The need for health and the need for health care
Methods of assessing health needs
The role of epidemiological and demographic research

2 Epidemiology
The role of epidemiology
Epidemiology research
Methods of epidemiology
Assessing morbidity, mortality, incidence and prevalence

3 The role of demography
Demographical methods in relation to assessing need
Rates: births and deaths
The need to standardise
Analyses of survival
Summary of main points
Key questions
Key terms
Recommended reading

Chapter 4: Costing health services: health economics

Health economics
Demand, utility and supply
Economic appraisal
Cost minimisation
Cost-benefit analysis
Marginal cost
Complete costs
Event pathways
Opportunity cost
Cost-utility analysis
Cost-utility analysis and economic valuations of health
Costing health services
Study methods used for costings
Modelling health care costs
Summary of main points
Key questions
Key terms
Recommended reading

Section II – The philosophy, theory and practice of research

Chapter 5: The philosophical framework of measurement

The philosophy of science
Objectivity and value freedom
Deductive and inductive approaches
The survival of hypotheses and paradigm shifts
Theoretical influences on social research methods
Social science and grounded theory
Choice of methods
Summary of main points
Key questions
Key terms
Recommended reading

Chapter 6: The principles of research

Searching the literature
Literature reviews
Systematic reviews and meta-analyses
Aims, objectives and hypotheses
Concepts and theories
Research proposals
Research design and research methods
Selection of measurement instruments Secondary data analysis
Level of data and statistical techniques
Reliability and validity
Threats to reliability and validity
Mixed mode questionnaires and biases
Ethics and ethical committees, clinical governance
Summary of main points
Key questions
Key terms
Recommended reading

Section III – Quantitative research: sampling and research methods

Chapter 7: Sample size and sampling for quantitative research


1 Calculation of sample size, statistical significance and sampling
The sampling unit
Calculation of sample size and statistical power
Testing hypotheses, statistical significance, the null hypothesis
Type I and Type II errors
One – or two-sided hypothesis testing
Statistical, social and clinical significance
Sampling frames
Confidence intervals and the normal distribution
External validity of the sample results

2 Methods of sampling
Random sampling
Non-random sampling: quota sampling
Sampling for qualitative research
Sampling for telephone interviews
Summary of main points
Key questions
Key terms
Recommended reading

Chapter 8: Quantitative research: surveys


1 Survey methods
The survey
Descriptive and analytic surveys
Retrospective (ex post facto), cross-sectional surveys
Prospective, longitudinal surveys
Cross-sectional and longitudinal cohort studies
Triangulated research methods and surveys

2 Methods of analysing change in longitudinal surveys
Analysing change
Sample attrition and analysing change
Stopping rules and analysis of interim results
Summary of main points
Key questions
Key terms
Recommended reading

Chapter 9: Quantitative research: experiments and other analytical methods of investigation

The experimental method
Internal and external validity
Reducing bias in participants and the investigating team
Blind experiments
The randomised controlled trial in health care evaluation
Other analytic methods of investigation
Before-after study with non-randomised control group
After-only study with non-randomised control group
Time series studies using different samples (historical controls)
Geographical comparisons
People acting as own controls
Within-person, controlled site study
Threats to the validity of causal inferences in other analytic studies
Summary of main points
Key questions
Key terms
Recommended reading

Chapter 10: Sample selection and group assignment methods in experiments and other analytic methods

Random sampling
Convenience and purposive sampling
Type of investigation and type of sampling frame
Response rates: experiments and other analytical studies
Ensuring similarity in group characteristics: random allocation
Other allocation methods: cross-over methods
Methods of group design for improving the basic RCT
Common methods of controlling to obtain equivalence in non-randomised studies
Summary of main points
Key questions
Key terms
Recommended reading

Section IV – The tools of quantitative research

Chapter 11: Data collection methods in quantitative research: questionnaires, interviews and their response rates

Structured and semi-structured questionnaires
Postal questionnaires and self-administration
Structured and semi-structured interviews
Item non-response
Summary of main points
Key questions
Key terms
Recommended reading

Chapter 12: Questionnaire design

Questionnaire layout
The covering letter
Questions form, order and wording
Rules for form
Constructing additional items and scales
Attitude measurement scales
Rules for order and wording
Rules for questions by type of topic
Checking the accuracy of responses
Translating an instrument and cultural equivalence
Summary of main points
Key questions
Key terms
Recommended reading

Chapter 13: Techniques of survey interviewing

Types of interview
The interviewer
Interviewer handbooks
Sampling by interviewers
Interviewer training
Interviewer bias
Persistence in contacting respondents
Approaching respondents
Motivating people to respond
Third parties and distractions
Beginning the interview
Rules for structured interviewing
Interviewing techniques
The end of the interview
Recording responses
Quality control
Summary of main points
Key questions
Key terms
Recommended reading

Chapter 14: Preparation of quantitative data for coding and analysis

Coding transfer sheets
The code book
Numerical values for codes
Coding open questions
Coding closed questions
Checking returned questionnaires
Data entry on to computer
Direct data-entry
Cleaning the data
Checking for bias in the analyses
Missing values and data checks
Computer packages for the analysis of quantitative data
The analysis
Summary of main points
Key questions
Key terms
Recommended reading

Section V – Qualitative and combined research methods, and their analysis

Chapter 15: Unstructured and structured observational studies

Participant observation
Gaining access
Hardware: video – and audio tapes
Establishing validity and reliability
Observation and triangulated methods
Structured observations: what to record
Time sampling
Recording observed (non-verbal) body language
Unstructured observations
Combining structured and unstructured recordings
Theoretical analysis of observational data
Categorisation of observational data
Audi-observation: conversation sampling
Recording and analysing verbal communication
Summary of main points
Key questions
Key terms
Recommended reading

Chapter 16: Unstructured interviewing and focus groups


1 Unstructured interviews
Types of unstructured, in-depth interview
Theoretical frameworks for conducting in-depth interviews and analysis
In-depth interviewing: sample selection and size
The process of the interview
Techniques of in-depth interviewing
Analysis and presentation of in-depth interview data
Categorising qualitative data: content analysis
Rules for coding
Computer programs for analysing qualitative data
Narrative format
Mixed research methods

2 Focus groups
Focus group interviews
Group composition
Appropriate topics for focus groups
Methods of analysis
Summary of main points
Key questions
Key terms
Recommended reading

Chapter 17: Other methods using both qualitative and quantitative approaches: case studies, consensus methods, action research and document research


1 Case studies
The study of single or small series of cases
Examples of case studies
The analysis

2 Consensus methods
Methods of establishing and developing consensus
Delphi technique
Consensus development panels
Nominal group process
The analysis

3 Action research and rapid appraisal techniques
Action research
Stages of action research
Rapid appraisal

4 Document research
Documents as sources of, or for, research
Types of documents
Authenticity, bias, error and interpretation
Types of document research
Analysis of documents
Diary methods
Analysis of diaries
Summary of main points
Key questions
Key terms
Recommended reading


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