Chapter 1

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Health Studies
Caroline Barakat

Research Methods in HealthChapter 1Investigating Health Services and Health the Scope of Research Introduction 1Research is the systematic and rigorous process of enquiry which aims to describe phenomena and to develop and test explanatory concepts and theoriesIf research that aims to find out information on a topic is little known or is too complex then qualitative methods may be more appropriateIf research aims to investigate causeandeffect issues then an experimental design in theory is requiredDoubleblind Randomised Controlled Trial RCT is an experimental approach to questions like Do women aged 75 have worse health outcomes than men aged 75 following thrombolysis therapy for acute myocardial infarction Importance of using triangulated research methods is enhanced by the multifaced nature of health and the multidisciplinary character of research on health and health servicesOne consequence of this multidisciplinary activity is that a wide range of qualitative and quantitative descriptive and analytical research methods is available Health Research 3Important role in informing the planning and operation of services aiming to achieve health It is the process of obtaining systematic knowledge and technology Health Systems and Health Services Research 3Health systems has no accepted definition it has been variously defined in terms of the structures used to deliver health care the geographical boundaries of the latter or the strategies used to attain population health Health systems has thus been defined as ultimately concerned with improving the health of a community by enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the health system as an integrated part of the overall process of socioeconomic development In Britain and USA general focus is on health services research not health systems research
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