Quantitative research uses large samples and, as such, the findings of well-conducted studies can often be generalised to larger populations. However, it is important that studies are well-designed to avoid errors in their interpretation and/or the reporting of inaccurate results. Misleading results from quantitative studies can have serious negative implications such as wasting public money on flawed policies and subjecting service users to ineffective or harmful treatments. This chapter explores descriptive and experimental quantitative research designs and examines, through case examples, the difference between cross-sectional, longitudinal and cohort studies. Factors leading to poorly and well-constructed studies are explored, along with a discussion of the key features of well-designed randomised controlled trials, the gold-standard design for testing treatment effectiveness.
Owen Price and Karina Lovell
Kelly Rushton and Owen Price
A systematic review is a vital part of the research process. It forms a clear and rigorous summary of existing evidence relating to a treatment, presented in a useful and comprehensible way to inform other healthcare professionals’ decision-making. This chapter breaks down each stage of the systematic review process, inviting the reader to critically consider a range of methods and techniques for the inclusion and analysis of studies and their findings.
Owen Price and Lauren Walker
It is of great importance that research projects are informed by sound ethics, properly planned, approved by an independent ethical board and rigorously monitored throughout the duration of the study. This chapter introduces four principles that govern the conduct of ethical research using relevant case examples to bring each principle to life. Topics explored include ‘informed consent’, capacity to provide consent, minimising and managing harm and the fair and equal treatment of study participants.