Explain the Purpose and Role of Research

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Task 1 – Explain the Purpose and Role of Research

Florence Nightingale, the most famous nurse of all time believed that statistics were the most important science in the whole world. Through her work in the Crimean War she recognised that to reduce the death rates from preventable disease she had to gather and analyse certain information. Using the evidence she collected she was able to persuade the army to set up a Royal Commission on Health, and left £2000 in her with to set up the first ever university chair of applied statistics. She realised back then which is equally true today, that research is essential to ensure the population receive the best possible healthcare.

Purpose of Research

Health research studies are designed to provide information on health and disease. The purpose of research for the health and social sectors is to learn how our bodies work, why we get sick and what we can do to get and stay well. The ultimate goal is to improve out health. It can help us to understand the type of world we live in.

There are several types of health-related research, some studies are done to learn what causes disease and how to avoid getting sick.

Another extremely important purpose of research is to highlight gaps in health care provision. Some types of research studies include observational studies which follow the same group of people over time to find out what happens to their health. Epidemiological studies look for patterns of disease in large groups of people. A good example of this is every year doctors do epidemiological studies to look at what kinds of flu outbreaks have occurred in the world and then use this information to decide what would be the best vaccine to use to counteract it.

Intervention studies look at ways to change behaviours that effect health for example how increased exercise can affect weight, heart disease and diabetes.

Prevention studies look for ways to keep people from getting sick. These studies often involve people who are at risk for a particular disease, for example people who smoke or have high blood cholesterol which puts them at risk of having a heart attack. Clinical trails are performed to learn the best ways to either prevent or treat a disease. This kind of study tests a new drug, vaccine or medical device. Clinical trails can only begin after results from laboratory studies show that the new treatment is safe to test and likely to be effective in people.

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Good research is characterised by applying a logical approach to obtaining and analysing information. There are a number of stages to this logical approach called the research process.

  • Selection of the research process
  • Literature review
  • Aims and objectives of the study
  • May have to source funding  
  • Ethical consideration
  • Communication
  • Construction of research tools
  • Pilot study
  • Data collection
  • Analysis of the data
  • Presentation of the findings of the study

Health Minister Jane Kennedy (2006) said that the requirement to conduct research for the improvement of health and medical treatments was one of the founding ...

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