What is Research?

Historically, there has been evidence  of  poor care and low staffing  in nursing and other professions. However, evidence is often discredited or regarded as anecdotal, as was Barbara Robb’s study (1967 ) , despite the fact that this was based on hundreds of reports from staff, patients and relatives. “Anecdotal” may commonly be regarded as “not evidenced”, or based on individual responses. Yet, there are established methods of research that give credence to such factors.

The issue reflects debates concerning naturalistic and quantitative research. Naturalistic research involves the gathering  of responses of people to their situations . Quantitative research is more concerned with data collection and statistical analysis . In both these paradigms of research  data may be falsified to suit the researchers world view, or that of the funding body.

Surely, one of the most  effective ways of exploring poor care is to question patients, relatives and staff. Is the term “anecdotal” being used as an excuse to disregard evidence of witnesses or people who have experienced certain situations? Such ‘voices’ may be ignored by   managers and politicians who would prefer to rely on ‘official’ statistics.

Should information given on ‘alternative’ websites be ignored because they do not rely on ‘official’ sources of information?  Likewise, should insights expressed in novels like Brave New World and Animal Farm be ignored because they are not ‘researched’? May they not give more of an insight into the human condition on one page than would be the case in  a thousand pages of ‘research’?

Carol Dimon, Lenin Nightingale c 2014




3 thoughts on “What is Research?

  1. Article via Roger Watson twitter http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jan.13090/abstract
    Lenin’s comments- To ignore scholarly peer reviewed journals is a charge based on false association. That is, the title of scholarly is given to articles which appear in peer reviewed journals, whether that article as any scholarly merit at all. It may be nothing more than an exercise in the Oxbridge tradition of comparing research a against research b, then suggesting a synthesis of c. The same thing called by different words. Reviews are nothing more than giving credit or not for following this format, with scholarly merely equating to format. The reason for trying to break free from this monopolisation of what is deemed scholarly is the same one which sees the most profound things written on subway walls by people who reject the sanitised world of format, and its thought police adherents.

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