Academic journal article Care Management Journals

Improving Aging and Public Health Research: Qualitative and Mixed Methods

Academic journal article Care Management Journals

Improving Aging and Public Health Research: Qualitative and Mixed Methods

Article excerpt

IMPROVING AGING AND PUBLIC HEALTH RESEARCH: QUALITATIVE AND MIXED METHODS Edited by Leslie Curry, Renee Shield, and Terrie Wetle Washington, DC: American Public Health Association and the Gerontological Society of America, 2006, 202 pp., $29.95 (softcover).

One finds among the characteristics of the good scientist a consistent self-reflection, or healthy skepticism. Improving Aging and Public Health Research, a volume of workshop material from recent meetings of the Gerontological Society, is a nice example of scientists concerned with the proper conduct of their own work. In 14 well-referenced chapters, each from different authors, the focus is on rigor in sociological information gathering (qualitative) and hypothesis testing (quantitative, or mixed method) in order to support scientifically defensible conclusions.

The book is challenging in its presentation of sociometrics, ethnometrics, and techniques of data analyses. The techno-lingo is often dazzling: "Codes are tags or labels for assigning units of meaning to descriptive or inferential information, and coding is the process of organizing information into 'chunks' that are alike, moving from words and sentence [ sic ] to 'incidents,' which are conceptually similar. The process of coding takes place iteratively. Initial codes, including detailed operational definitions, are developed; these initial codes are applied to several units of analysis (e.g., transcripts, notes) and revised as needed to better encapsulate the data." This description of organizing data seems all the more daunting for attaching relatively simple words to complex definitions. …

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