Research Methodology for health and social care

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Unit 22: Research Methodology for health and social care

Student name: Fatimah Al_Asadi

Teacher name: Ms John

Unit introduction:

Much of the work in health and social care is grounded in evidence-based practice. It is advantageous, for those seeking a career in the sectors, to have a clear understanding of research methodology in order to work ethically and effectively when carrying out their research. The choice of topic may be informed by a particular interest or career intentions. This unit will provide a good foundation for learners wishing to progress to higher education or within their chosen career.

Initially, learners will need to consider the importance and function of research in health and social care sectors, for example the role that research plays in policy development. Learners will explore research methodology appropriate to the sectors. Learners must demonstrate an understanding of ethical principles and gain approval for their plans before starting their project. In the final part of the unit, learners will have the opportunity to research their selected topic, present their findings and evaluate the success of the project.

Learning outcomes:

On the completion of the unit a learner should:

  1. Understand the function of the research in health and social care.
  2. Understand ethical issues relation to research in health and social care.
  3. Understand research methodologies relevant to health and social care.
  4. Be able to plan for a research project.
  5. Be able to conduct research relevant to health and social care context.
  6. Be able to interpret research findings.


You are a professional working in health and social care sector for one of the London boroughs, the borough is looking at introducing further strategies/interventions that can be put in place to improve the services on offer to client/service users. They have asked you to carryout research into one targeted area of health and social care in order to provide them with updated knowledge on the most effective way of assisting the service users concerned.

As a part of the unit, you will be required to undertake a small scale research project. You must consider any ethical issues in relation to the research, conduct the research, present and analyse the results and draw your final conclusion.

P1: Explain the function of research in health and social care

Research is extremely important in health and social care sector. It is necessary and important for the following reasons:

  • Research identifying needs: all health or social care workers who are involved in care planning use research principles to identify the needs of individuals. E.g. a care home manager observing an individual resident may identify that they may need more assistance with personal care and discuss this with individual. Making decisions about treatment or care to meet the individual’s needs. It is important and necessary to carry out a specific study, or research project, to investigate the benefits to others, there are many organisations often charities, which are dedicated to improving the care of individuals with specific disease and disorders through research.

  • Research highlighting gaps in provision: the health or social care needs of communities change over time with the rise and fall of local employment; and young adult s moving on, leaving old adults in the family home. The services needed for a new housing estate with lots of young children, are usually different from those needed a well-established estate with a greater proportion of older adult residents.

  • Research planning provision of services: provision of services for health and social is expensive and a new service can take several years to develop. Strategic health authorities, primary care trust (PCTS) and local authority with are responsible for planning health and social care provision, have to be sure that any decision to invest public money in developing new services is justified. Their decisions need to be based on information that is accurate, recent and reliable.    


  • Research information policy and practice:

Policy: research shows that older people stay healthier for longer if they remain in their own homes so local authorities have recognised their social services departments closed down, many of their residential homes and now deliver more homes -based care. Similarity, some doctors surgeries are now based on out of town businesses or industrial parks because research has shown that workers take less tine off if they can see a doctor near their work place, rather than taking a day’s leave to get to a surgery near where they live.

Practice: research into health and social care practice may be assossiated with, for example:

  • The needs of individuals.
  • Improving the quality of care.
  • Ensuring that resources are uses efficiently, without wastes.
  • Addressing specific problems that have arisen.
  • Reducing risk e.g. of acquiring infections such as MRSA.

Improvements to practice might involve, for example:

  • Modifying care routines.
  • Changing how care teams work together.
  • Reorganising the layout of a care space.
  • Developing better communication for visitors.
  • Increasing choice.
  • Enabling more autonomy.

  • Research extending knowledge and understanding: science and technology research leads to the development of news knowledge and understanding of materials of the living world. Although some scientific research may appear quite far removed for health and social care need, health and social care is a very important area in which scientific knowledge and discovery can be applies. For example when the pace marker to regulate the heartbeat, was introduces it had a huge impact on many individuals, enabling them to live near normal life. Other computerised devices allow continues monitoring of the body so that critically ill patient has an improved chance of surviving previously fatal conditions.

  • Research aiding reflection: research can provide you with data on which to reflect data obtained using a research methodology is likely to be more objective and reliable that information obtained by casual, unplanned observations.

  • Research monitoring progress: it is when any major change has been introduced, it is important to find out what the effect of the change is, on an individual level, a care worker in a care home makes regular observations and checks to see that a new resident settles in well. If the change is complex, such as using a new building and staff team. Monitoring systems and processes would help assess whether the service is effective in benefiting individuals. Monitoring involves research for example:
  • Using questionnaires to investigate precipitation of individual’s users of a new service.
  • Interviews or questionnaires with staff.
  • Gathering quantitative data, e.g. the number of individuals using the service, how quickly they are seen or that their needs are met.
  • Reviewing the data to see whether there are any weaknesses in the service.
  • Developing and then implementing an action plan to address problem areas and enable further improvements.

In summary it is important to conduct research in health and social care as it leads to improvements in the sector as a whole.

M1: Discuss the function of research in a chosen area of interest.

In summary my hypothesis is that “Many students are choosing to go into fulltime employment after A- Levels rather than university as they do not want to have to repay a student loan”. For example if my study shows that students are worried about repaying student loan then the government should set up some support for these students s they could go to university and finish their education. If the government helps students and support them they could have a proper job of their interest.

Some students can’t go to university or go to a fulltime employment because they didn’t have support or they are worried that their parents or themselves to be in debt and can’t do a single thing.

This hypothesis covers 2 main areas:  Education, Teenage attitudes and behaviour.

  • Education:  It is important to carry out research into education as it presents more information for investigation. This allows for improvements based on greater information and study. It is very important. Education is one of the most important things in the life because you as a person will never improve yourself or the world around you. Learning is a complex process. Precisely what takes place in the course work varies from situation to individual. Therefore tutors cannot assume that students learn what they teach is all they need to know towards their course work. There is always a need to continue research, develop, notice and understand the processes that are actually taking place in the field of their study to improve education standards. Research is not always a concept that practitioners, managers and policy makers respect. Too often it is seen as an academic activity conducted by others – to the profession, not with the profession. But I believe it should be respected. In fact I’d say education professionals are always learning, finding out things, analysing information, adapting their behaviour according to information received, looking to improve and adapting to modern demands. All of this constitutes research - whether professionals want to call it that or not.
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  • Work and employment:  Work and employment are important for health and well-being. We know that many people with a mental health condition do not participate in key activities of society, they are socially excluded, and that being in work can reduce the likelihood of this. The right work, with the right support from employers, colleagues, carers and health and care professionals can actually aid recovery for people with mental health problems. No one is intrinsically unemployable, studies show that, given the right conditions and support, the vast majority of people who are out of work and use ...

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