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Doing research: study design and research methodologies

Once you have decided on your research question, you must decide how you are going to answer the question and select the most appropriate method(s) to facilitate this.

Study design

If you are new to research, the resources below will help give you a basic understanding of study design.

You can also find out more about getting help with designing your study, or finding experts to discuss your ideas.

Stew G. Chapter 1.4: Deciding on the right research approach. Chapter 1.5: Which research methods to use? In: Moore, A; Lyon, P (ed.) Getting involved in research : a pocket guide. Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, National Physiotherapy Research Network, 2009.

Deciding on the right research approach

Hyndman S, Lloyd H. Information pack for health & social care researchers. NHS National Institute for Health Research, Research Design Service South Central: 2013

Information pack for health & social care researchers

Methodologies

When you have decided on your research method(s) you will need to learn about those approaches in more detail.

There are a wide range of online resources, some of which are listed below. For information on more formal training in research methodologies see research careers and training.

CSP resources

CSP library collection and online library catalogue

The CSP’s online public access library catalogue contains over 10,000 items, including books, CSP publications, journals, theses and ‘grey’ literature held in the CSP collection in London.

Many of these items are available for CSP members to borrow. The catalogue also lists useful websites, e-books and e-documents, with web links direct to the content.

CSP library collection and online library catalogue

Online journals

The CSP has negotiated a package of online resources for members, including full text access to some journals.

Online journals

For details of the full text access status for any journal, view the journal’s record in the online library catalogue.

Bibliographic databases

The CSP subscribes to a range of allied health and medical databases which CSP members can access.

Some databases also provide full text access to part of their content. Non-CSP members can access a range of free databases.

Bibliographic databases

Quantitative methodology

Wharrad H, rev. Silcocks P. An Introduction to Experimental Design. NHS National Institute for Health Research, Research Design Service EM/YH, 2009.

Quantitative methodology

Qualitative methodology

Dyas J, Ockleford E. Basics of qualitative research design. NHS National Institute for Health Research, Research Design Service East Midlands. [n.d.]

Qualitative methodology

An Introduction to Qualitative Research

Hancock B, Ockleford E, Windridge K. An Introduction to Qualitative Research. NHS National Institute for Health Research, Research Design Service EM/YH, 2009.

An Introduction to Qualitative Research

Questionnaires and surveys

Mathers N, Fox N, Hunn A. Surveys and questionnaires. NHS National Institute for Health Research, Research Design Service EM/YH, 2007, updated 2009.

Surveys and questionnaires

Krosnick JA, Presser S. Chapter 9: Question and Questionnaire Design. In: Marsden PV, Wright JD. Handbook of Survey Research (2nd ed.) Emerald Group Publishing Ltd: 2010.

Interviews

Fox, N: Using Interviews in a Research Project. NHS National Institute for Health Research, Research Design Service EM/YH, 2006. Last updated 2009.

Using Interviews in a Research Project

Health economics

Miller P. An Introduction to Health Economic Evaluation. NHS National Institute for Health Research, Research Design Service EM/YH, 2009.

Introduction to Health Economic Evaluation

Jones M. Introduction to health economics. NHS National Institute for Health Research, Research Design Service East Midlands, 2010.

Introduction to health economics

Mixed methods

NHS National Institute for Health Research, Research Design Service West Midlands. Mixed Methods for Health Research: overview of mixed methods research design & review. [n.d.]

Overview of mixed methods research design & review

Brannen J. Mixed Methods Research: a discussion paper. NCRM Methods Review Papers, NCRM/005 (unpublished). ESRC National Centre for Research Methods; 2005.

Mixed methods discussion paper

Complex interventions

National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI). Developing and evaluating complex interventions [n.d.]

Developing and evaluating complex interventions

Links

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