The success of any study depends on the selection of the research methods. They are selected together with the research design and are grounded on the purposes of the research, types of data and variables (Creswell & Poth, 2017). Every research design has advantages and disadvantages. Thus, its effectiveness for the research should be evaluated together with the chosen methods. Research in health demands an even more careful selection of research methods since the results of such studies can be useful for further patient care.
The research under analysis investigates ankylosing spondylitis (AS) in Wales. AS is chronic inflammatory arthritis that strikes from 1 in 270 to 21 in 400 people (Atkinson et al., 2010). The disease affects young people and is not cured. It has a substantial influence on the workforce since patients with AS experience everyday pain and uses drugs; hence they are not productive employees (Atkinson et al., 2010). The study suggests collecting and linking “a range of complementary sets of data; including, robust clinical data from rheumatologists, existing routinely collected datasets, out-patients clinical data, in-patient activity, emergency department, laboratory/pathology data and social services databases and finally data collected directly from the patients themselves” (Atkinson et al., 2010, p.1). One of the strengths of this study is the linkage of data obtained from different sources. Thus, the routinely collected data add to the characterization of patients at all stages of the disease (Atkinson et al., 2010).
Research Methods: Explanation and Evaluation
It is qualitative research that includes the following data sources: (1) secondary care clinician datasets, (2) patient completed questionnaires, (3) other routinely collected data (Atkinson et al., 2010, p.3). These data correspond to the aim of the study which is to “develop a cohort of people with AS using existing data from clinical and routine sources and data collected from patient completed questionnaires” (Atkinson et al., 2010, p.3). The data from Rheumatology centers will allow including all patients who were officially diagnosed with AS. Patient self-administered information will give the understanding of the severity of the disease. The application of the routine data sources will provide the opportunity to trace AS patients’ course of disease both retrospectively and prospectively (Atkinson et al., 2010, p.3).
Since health research addresses the understanding of human health, qualitative research suits its aims (Green & Thorogood, 2013). Patients’ databases also are informative sources for health research. Social health research should also include the investigation of models of health behavior and lifestyles which can be assessed through patient-administered surveys (Bowling, 2014). A survey allows reaching a broader audience than other methods. Liamputtong (2013) suggests evidence –based practice as an efficient method in health studies. It could add validity to the research under consideration.
On the whole, the choice of research methods and development of study design are crucial stages in every investigation. They influence the validity and reliability of the research findings and condition the choice of data analysis methods. In the case of health research, the combination of methods can be more productive than a single method. Thus, simultaneous application of databases analysis and patient-administered survey in the research under analysis provides an opportunity to trace the development of a disease and compare it to patients’ reports. Finally, research design and methods should result in finding answers to research questions and follow the aim of the study.
Atkinson, M. D., Brophy, S., Siebert, S., Gravenor, M. B., Phillips, C., Ford, D. V.,… Lyons, R. A. (2010). Protocol for a population-based ankylosing spondylitis (PAS) cohort in Wales. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 11(197), 1-6. Web.
Bowling, A. (2014). Research methods in health: Investigating health and health services. (2nd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Open University Press.
Creswell, J.W., & Poth, C.N. (2017). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. London, UK: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Green, J., & Thorogood, N. (2013). Qualitative methods for health research. London, UK: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Liamputtong, P. (2013). Research methods in health: Foundations for evidence-based practice (2nd ed.). South Melbourne, VC.: Oxford University Press.