Discussion: Selecting Research Methods

Discussion: Selecting Research Methods

Health researchers not only systematically plan and implement health studies but also apply research findings to advance the health professions’ knowledge base and professional practice. The types of questions the researchers ask are what determine whether a quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-methods approach is most suitable for a particular research study.

Research questions that ask “what” explore relationships between variables. Such questions require a quantitative approach. For example: “What” is the rate of influenza in my community? “What” is the relationship between selected demographic characteristics and a diagnosis of influenza?

Questions that ask “why” or “how” require a qualitative approach. For example: “Why” might Latina women in a particular neighborhood be wary of accessing reproductive health services?

Studies that seek an answer to “what,” “why,” and “how” questions employ a mixed-method approach of both quantitative and qualitative methods.

Post an explanation of the research method you would choose to conduct the public health study proposed in the scenario. Explain why you would choose this research method over others. Include in your explanation the benefits and limitations of the research method you selected. Be sure to indicate the sources used in your response, either course readings or other outside sources, using correct APA 6th edition form and style.

SCENARIO: Discussion Scenario Imagine that you are the director of a community health clinic that specializes in diabetes mellitus type 2 (DB2) diagnosis and management. According to research conducted by clinic employees, a significant percentage of the individuals who attend the clinic for this disease are not adhering to the diabetes management plans that the clinic provides. As the director, you wonder if there is some way to identify, at the point of diagnosis, those patients who are most likely to avoid adhering to their medications and post-diagnosis management plan. Doing so would enable the clinic to target potential nonadherers for more intensive education about DB2 management. You have hired a professional health researcher to design a study to answer the following questions: 

1. Are there demographic and other characteristics associated with people who are likely to be nonadherers to the DB2 post-diagnosis management plan? If so, what are the determinants? 

2. Can one predict who is likely to be a nonadherer? 

3. What type of research study design is required to answer these research questions, and why?

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