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Chapter 6

Chapter 6 Study Guide


Department
Health Studies
Course Code
HLTB15H3
Professor
Caroline Barakat
Chapter
6

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Chapter Six The Principles of Research
Searching the Published and Unpublished Literature (145)
- Non-significant research results tend to remain in internal departmental report, known as the grey
literature.
Computerised and Other Literature Databases (146)
- Manual searches sometimes helpful because all relevant articles will not necessarily be indexed under
the appropriate key words.
- Also, not all relevant articles will be indexed within one database; for example, aging journals found
indexed in social science but not medical databases.
Data Extraction and Quality Assessment (148)
- Data extraction proforma for empirical research reviews should include, at minimum:
- Clear statement of aims;
- Study design (experimental by type; observational by type);
- Research quality criteria (ex. Type of/blinding in RCTs);
- Appropriateness of methods and statistics;
- Country and date of study;
- Site of study (ex. Population/hospital/primary care);
- Sample size, coverage, and evidence of statistical power;
- Response rates/ sample attrition;
- Sample characteristics, including condition;
- Theoretical framework;
- Predictors and outcomes assessed;
- Measurement tools with evidence of reliability and validity;
- Outcomes/results;
- Generalisability
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Meta-analyses (150)
- Meta-analyses = Observational studies of the body of evidence; quantitative.
- A meta-analysis, by pooling and analysing statistically the results from several combinable studies can
increase statistical power to detect small but clinically important treatment harms and benefits; thus, by
increasing sample size a meta-analysis can increase the power to detect true effects.
- Two main models in meta-analysis are fixed effects (=which assume that variability of results between
studies is due to random variation), and random effects (=which assume a different underlying effect for
each study).
Rigour (152)
- Important for reliability and validity of data, plus the reduction of bias.
- Rigour = several essential features of the research process, which include:
- The systematic approach o research design;
- The awareness of the importance of interpretation and not perception or assumption;
- Systematic and thorough collection;
- Analysis and interpretation of the data;
- The maintenance of meticulous and detailed records of interviews and observations;
- The use of triangulated (more than one) research methods as a check on the validity of the
findings;
- And the ability of an independent, trained investigator to re-analyse the data using the same
processes and methods and reach the same conclusions.
Aims, Objectives, and Hypotheses (152)
- One of the first stages of research design is to describe aims and objectives of study.
- Difference between aims and objectives = objectives are simply at the level of operational tasks, which
have to be accomplished in order to meet aims; difference of degree, rather than kind.
- A causal hypothesis is a prediction that one phenomenon to be observed will be the result of one or more
other phenomena that precede it in time (also to be observed in the study)
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Concepts & Theories (154)
- Operationalisation refers to the development of proxy measures which enable a phenomenon to be
measured. All variables much be operationalised in order to test a hypothesis empirically.
- A variable is an indicator resulting from the operationalisation of a concept, and which represents the
concept.
- Exposure = independent variable.
- Axiomatic theory contains axioms (untestable statements) and theorems (propositions deduced from the
axioms and which can be verified empirically).
Models (155)
- Models are based on several theories, and are used to make assumptions about the variables of interest.
- Usually consist of elements (shown by boxes) linked by relationships (shown with arrows); thus, showing
causal relationships.
Research Proposals (156)
- The research proposal should clearly review the literature, justify the selection of the intended topic, and
state any hypotheses, together with the aims, objectives, overall study design, methods, sampling unit,
sample type and size, method of sampling, measurement tools and intended analysis.
- Should also include a plan for the dissemination of results.
- State whether investigator aims to adopt a positivist, nomothetic approach (a belief in general laws
influencing behaviour or personality traits, and therefore an aim to generalise research findings) or an
idiographic approach (an attempt to study and understand individuals and situations in relation to their
uniqueness).
- Include study timetable and cost.
Research Design and Research Methods (158)
- Research design refers to the overall structure or plan of the research: for example, a descriptive vs.
experimental study & with what targeted population.
- Research method refers to the practices and technique used to collect, process, and analyse the data (ex.
What type of experiment or survey), the sample size, the method of sampling, and how the data will be
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