Quantitative data analysis makes sense of numerical data. We can use numbers to summarise the experiences or characteristics of a group of participants, for example their average age or the number of symptoms they report. We can also use numbers to look at people’s behaviours, experiences and views. Perhaps most importantly, we can use numbers to look at differences between groups of people or the same group over time. This can help us understand the effect of new treatment or policy initiatives, both in terms of the type of effect (e.g. does a new policy make things better, worse or leave things unchanged?) and the size of its impact (e.g. are any changes big enough to be meaningful or could they have happened just by chance?). This chapter explores some of the different approaches to analysing numerical data, examines the difference between descriptive and inferential statistics, and highlights some of the ways in which you can begin to interpret research data presented as numbers.

in A research handbook for patient and public involvement researchers

Research activity does not finish when data analysis is complete. Once research findings are available, researchers still have obligations to fulfil. These obligations include sharing the findings with different audiences and ensuring maximum impact from the study. Dissemination refers to the active process of communicating research findings in a targeted and personalised way to identified relevant audiences who may be interested in the findings and/or able to benefit from them. This chapter describes some different ways in which research findings can be disseminated in order to increase the impact of research and ensure continued engagement with stakeholders.

in A research handbook for patient and public involvement researchers

Three main types of qualitative research methods were used within the EQUIP programme of work and these form the focus of this chapter: in-depth interviews, focus groups and observations. Throughout the chapter, the authors look at allied publications resulting from EQUIP as a way of providing examples of real life research to support the description of the methodological approaches provided. This chapter presents the three types of qualitative research methods, discusses the factors that influence the choice of research method, and gives practical advice on how to utilise qualitative research methods.

in A research handbook for patient and public involvement researchers

This chapter provides an explanation of what qualitative data is, and gives examples of different analysis methods and the factors that influence how and why they are chosen. Analysing data by looking for common themes (known as thematic analysis) is one of the most common ways in which researchers approach data they have gathered. There are various criticisms levelled at qualitative analysis including issues relating to validity, reliability and credibility. Researchers can address these through a range of methods including triangulation of data, member validation, careful sampling and transparency of approach.

in A research handbook for patient and public involvement researchers

This handbook is written for patients and members of the public who want to understand more about the approaches, methods and language used by health-services researchers. Patient and public involvement (PPI) in research is now a requirement of most major health-research programmes, and this book is designed to equip these individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary for meaningful participation. Edited by award-winning mental-health researchers, the book has been produced in partnership with mental-health-service users and carers with experience of research involvement. It includes personal reflections from these individuals alongside detailed information on quantitative, qualitative and health-economics research methods, and comprehensively covers all the basics needed for large-scale health research projects: systematic reviews; research design and analysis using both qualitative and quantitative approaches; health economics; research ethics; impact and dissemination. This book was developed during a five-year research programme funded by the UK’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) called Enhancing the Quality of User Involved Care Planning in Mental Health Services (EQUIP). The handbook clearly outlines research practices, and gives an insight into how public and patient representatives can be involved in them and shape decisions. Each chapter ends with a reflective exercise, and there are also some suggested sources of additional reading. People who get involved in health research as experts from experience now have a textbook to support their research involvement journey.