Introduction to Research for Social Care

Introductionto Research for Social Care

Introductionto Research for Social Care

Qualitativeresearch is an important tool in social care because it helps thehealth care facilities enhance their evidence-based practices.Moreover, research makes a significant contribution towards theformulation effective policies in the health care sector andfacilitates the process of decision-making (Barbosa, 2010). This isbecause research is critical in identification of better methods ofdelivering health care services to that target population.Qualitative research does not involve an immediate intervention, butit seeks to inform the future decisions. This paper will provide adescription of the research process that will be used to conduct aqualitative research aimed at exploring the service uptake in a daycare center developed for older people. The center, which is locatedabout 13 km from the city serves a population of about 200 olderpeople who live in the town and its vicinities. The paper will focuson the methodology, study design, sample, data collection, andethical considerations.


Theresearch will follow the qualitative approach, which is one of themethods that has the capacity to answer questions that relate tonursing concerns about human responses to potential or actual healthcare problems. Qualitative methodology refers to the process ofinquiring whose main aim is to help researchers in getting anin-depth perceptive of certain human behavior as well as the factorsthat govern those behaviors (Hennink, Hutter &amp Bailey, 2010).There are two major factors that make qualitative methodology themost appropriate approach for the present research. First,qualitative methodology allows researchers to get some insight intoattitudes, concerns, aspirations, value systems, behaviors, andlifestyle (Hennink, Hutter &amp Bailey, 2010). This will help theresearcher in identifying the key factors that influence the elders’decision to seek for health care services. Secondly, the qualitativemethodology allows the researcher to conduct a naturalistic inquiry,which in turn facilitates the elucidation of multiple dimensions ofsome complicated phenomena (Hammersley, 1993). This implies that theuse of the qualitative methodology will provide an opportunity forthe researcher to explore the issue of service uptake directly.


Thepresent research will follow the cross-sectional study design, whichrelies on the study and drawing of conclusions from the currentdifference between subjects, people, or phenomena. The cross-sectionis a deign whose characteristics includes the lack of the timedimension, selection of groups depending on the existing differences,and less focus on change after some intervention (Mann, 2015). Thisimplies that the use of the cross-sectional design will allow theresearcher in getting a snapshot of the utilization of the dare careservices at a given point in time. Therefore, a follow-up of eventswill not be required. There are three factors that make thecross-sectional design the most suitable design for the presentstudy. First, the fact that the cross-sectional study focuses on thesituation of the phenomenon, subject, or people at a given point intime allow the researcher to complete the research project within ashort time, but still achieve the desired goals (Mann, 2015). Thefaster completion of the research implies that the researcher willsave more resources (including time and money) and address the issuebeing studied (the uptake of services in a daycare center for theelderly people) in time.

Secondly,the use of the cross-sectional design allows the researcher to use asample that has been generated from the entire population. A samplethat is drawn from the whole population is more likely to be a fairrepresentative of that population (Levin, 2006). This will allow theresearcher to preserve the ecological validity of the study becausethe study outcome will reflect the status of the population beingstudied. In addition, the cross-sectional design makes the researchfaster and easy compared to other designs. The cross-sectional studydesign, unlike other designs (such as experimental), does not requireany immediate interventions during the research process. This isbecause the cross-sectional research aims at exploring the underlyingissue using the existing or available evidence and without disruptingthe subjects, phenomenon, or people (Levin, 2006). Consequently, theuse of the cross-sectional design will make the study simple andfaster, but with the desired level of quality.


Inqualitative researchers, the study participants are recruiteddepending on the level of their experience of exposure to thephenomenon being studied (Ryan, Coughlan &amp Cronin, 2007). Thequalitative methodology and cross-sectional study design are morecompatible with the purposeful sampling than other methods ofsampling the study subjects. In this regard, the study will recruit atotal of 35 registered health care providers from the day carecenter. This is because these health care providers have moreexperience of the service uptake and have monitored trends as well asthe tendency of the elderly people to seek for health care servicesin the region. The sample size might appear to be small if othermethodologies (such as the mixed methodology was being used), but itis optimum for a qualitative study, which does not require theresearcher to generalize the outcome or the findings (Ryan, Coughlan&amp Cronin, 2007). This means that the findings that will beobtained from the study will be used to address the specific issuewithin the area of study, and not in other geographical locations.


Thereare two major factors that make purposeful sample the mostappropriate choice the present study. First, the purposeful samplingtechnique ensures that all objects or people who may not be suitablefor the study are eliminated (Suri, 2011). This will ensure that thestudy sample comprise of participants who have experience with theuptake of services in the day care center are recruited. Secondly,the fact that purposeful sampling allows the inclusion of relevantparticipants makes it possible for the study to produce accuratefindings compared to alternative methods of sampling (Suri, 2011).Therefore, the quality of the findings of the present study isguaranteed, which means that the results will be reliable. Moreover,purposeful sampling makes it possible and easy to obtain a sample ofstudy subjects with certain characteristics as opposed to otherapproaches, such as random sampling. This implies that the purposeapproach allows the researcher to target only the subjects who havethe desired qualities for the study. In this case, only thehealthcare professionals working with the day care will be targeted,which will reduce the probability of recruiting subjects that havelittle or no information to provide.


Theuse of qualitative methodology gives researchers an opportunity toselect the method of data collection from a large number of theavailable alternatives. However, the selected instrument of datacollection should have the capacity to help the researcher theresearch questions and achieve the research objectives. In addition,the data collection instrument and procedures should facilitate anaccurate data gathering exercise, which enhances the validity, aswell as the reliability of the research findings (Chadwick, 2009). Aquestionnaire will be the most appropriate data collection instrumentfor the present study. This means that a total of 35 questionnaireswill be developed to study service uptake the selected daycarecenter. The questionnaires will be issued to the study participantsin hand copy. Respondents will be given seven days to complete andhand in the questionnaires. The subsequent steps (including the dataanalysis, reporting of the findings, and discussion) will depend onthe type of data that will be documented in the questionnaires handedin by respondents.

Rationalefor the selection of questionnaire as a tool for data collection

Questionnaires,unlike most of the data collection methods (such as directobservation and unstructured interview), contain standard questions.This helps the researcher in collecting standardized data since allrespondents are expected to answer the same questions (Chadwick,2009). Therefore, the use of the questionnaire in collecting data forthe present study will enhance the reliability of the findings. Inaddition, questionnaires allow researchers to collect data within ashort period. This is unlike the personal interview, where theresearchers deal with one study participant at a time. Therefore, theuse of questionnaires will enhance efficiency of data collection fromthe 35 participants, who will be recruited in the present study.Although the process of drafting the questionnaire is quitedemanding, the data collected using the questionnaire is easier toanalyze since the questionnaire facilitates a structured andorganized process of data collection.


Inmost cases, the qualitative method of data collection reveals theidentity of respondents, which can raise ethical dilemmas (Ryan,Coughlan &amp Cronin, 2007). To avoid such dilemmas, the studyparticipants will be assured that the raw data collected using thequestionnaire will not be revealed to the third parties. Theresearcher has a primary responsibility of maintaining anonymity ofthe study participants. Moreover, the researcher should assure thestudy participants that the data will not be used for other purpose,apart from the examination of service uptake in the day care center.

Beforethe study commences, it will be appropriate to receive an informedconsent of the study participant regarding their willingness to takepart in the study. The need for an informed consent is based on themoral principle of autonomy, which gives the study participants thefreedom to make rational decisions when deciding whether they want totake part in the study or not (Ryan, Coughlan &amp Cronin, 2007).The principle of autonomy also gives the study subjects the right towithdraw from the study at their pleasure. The informed concept willcontain the basic elements including the statement of the purpose ofthe study, participants’ right to confidentiality, the type ofinformation that the researcher expects to get from the research,risks, and benefits associated with the research.

Theprotection of the rights of the study participants is paramount,especially in qualitative research. This will be accomplished in thepresent study by seeking for the approval of the University’sethical committee will be sought before undertaking the research. Themain function of the ethics committee is to assess and determinewhether ethical principles and guidelines are being followed (Ryan,Coughlan &amp Cronin, 2007). In addition, the ethics committeeensures that adequate measures are taken to protect participants fromany source of harm.

Researchgovernance approval is a relatively new concept in the field ofhealth care research, but it contributed towards the enhancement ofethical compliance during the research. This type of approvalincreases the public confidence in the process of research, which isachieved through an improvement in the management as well asmonitoring of the process of research (Haigh &amp Williamson, 2004).In the present study, the governance approval will be sought from theUniversity ethics committee as well as the ethics committee of theday care center. This will ensure that well-being, rights, dignity,and safety of the study participants are given a primaryconsideration. Moreover, the governance approval will ensure that theresearch is a duplication of the past studies, which would otherwiseamount to unethical practice.


Thequalitative research methodology helps researchers in the health caresector in answering questions that pertain to the human response toactual as well as potential health care challenges. In addition, thecross-sectional study design helps research in drawing conclusionsfrom the current differences between phenomena, people, and subjects.This makes the qualitative research simple and easy to conduct. Thepurposeful sample selection technique is appropriate for the researchdesigned to explore the service uptake in the day care for theelderly. This is because purposeful sampling ensures that only thesubjects with desirable characteristics are recruited. Questionnaireswill be the most appropriate data collection tool for the studybecause it will standardize the data collected from the study.Moreover, the consideration of ethical standards and procedures willcontribute towards the success of the research. Most importantly, thestudy participants should be informed about their rights toparticipate and withdraw from the research, benefits, and thepossible risks associated with the research.


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