Research Methods for Nurses and the Caring Professions

Research Methods for Nurses and the Caring Professions

Research Methods for Nurses and the Caring Professions

Research Methods for Nurses and the Caring Professions


Praise for the first edition of Research Into Practice and Research Methods for Nurses and the Caring Professions:

"These books provide a good introduction for the uninitiated to reading and doing research. Abbott and Sapsford provide a clearly written and accessible introduction to social research... One of their aims is to 'de-mystify' research, and in this they succeed admirably... After reading the text and the articles in the reader, and working through the various research exercises, readers should have a clear appreciation of how to evaluate other people's research and how to begin their own."
- David Field, Journal of Palliative Medicine

This is a thoroughly revised and up-dated edition of the bestselling reader for nurses and the caring professions. It offers carefully selected examples of research, all concerned in some way with nursing or the study of health and community care. It illustrates the kind of research that can be done by a small team or a single researcher, without large-scale research grants. The editors have chosen papers which show a great diversity of approaches: differing in emphasis on description or explanation, different degrees of structure in design and different appeals to the authority of science or the authenticity of emphatic exploration. They show the limitations typical of small-scale projects carried out with limited resources and the experience of applied research as it occurs in practice, as opposed to how it tends to look when discussed in textbooks. The chapters have been organized into three sections representing three distinct types of social science research: observing and participating, talking to people and asking questions, and controlled trials and comparisons. Each section is provided with an editorial introduction.


• Thoroughly revised and up-dated edition of bestselling text

• New articles in line with latest trends in nursing and other practitioner research, with more stress on evidence-based practice, action research and self-evaluation

• New user-friendly format

• Very well-known authors in the field


The research imagination


Further reading

'Research' is often presented as something mysterious and technical, something beyond the capability of those who have not undergone long training. It is what is done by scientists, it requires the use of computers and abstruse mathematics, and ordinary untrained people sometimes cannot even understand the questions, let alone the answers. However, 'doing research' is just an extension of what we all do in our daily lives. We are continually coming to conclusions on the basis of what we experience plus what we know already — to recognize something as a tree, or a post box or a person is to take knowledge which we have already and apply it to what appears to be in front of us. We all have occasion, every day, to try to find out more about something in order to act more appropriately — to look up an address, to take a closer look at the tree, to explore whether this person is really to be trusted. When something puzzles us and we cannot quite make it out, we generally set about looking for evidence about it which will help us to make sense of it. The researcher does no more. Research starts as an extension of common sense — finding out about things, looking for information about them, trying to make sense of them in the light of evidence and working out what evidence is needed.

Common sense has its limitations, however, which the researcher tries to overcome. In our everyday thinking and decision-making we often act on poor evidence. Indeed, we have to do so; events will not wait until the evidence is in, even if we were prepared to collect it. We come to quite hasty judgements about people, for instance, on the basis of one incident; we classify them as sympathetic or unsympathetic on the basis of how they behave when we first meet them, and behave accordingly. We judge whole classes of people on the basis of single examples. Common sense is full of 'facts' for which it has little or no evidence. What has been heard on the radio or television, or in the pub or the bus queue, or what is believed and announced by opinion leaders such as politicians, churchmen or scientists, becomes 'the truth' without further examination. Finally, common sense is influenced by a wide range of stereotypes and ideological presuppositions of which we . . .

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