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Understanding and Conducting Research in the Health Sciences


Author: Christopher J. L. Cunningham

Publisher: Wiley


Publish Date: July 22, 2013

ISBN-10: 1118135407

Pages: 544

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

Professionals in the health sciences interact with people every day. It is increasingly the case that issues of cultural competence, humanism, interpersonal compassion, and patient perceptions of care quality are on the minds of those responsible for developing tomorrow ’ s physicians. A shared characteristic of all these and many other issues is that they are based on perceptions, behaviors, and cognitions. These latter elements are core elements to human psychology and to the ways in which people interact with each other and their environments.

Given this reality, it is important to consider the role of behavioral and social science research within the health science professions. Unfortunately, many professionals- in-training in this area receive little to no training in basic social science research methods, focusing instead on biological or other forms of laboratorybased study. Although such highly controlled studies are important for the development and testing of new medications and treatments, the health sciences cannot simply ignore the more psychological and sociological factors that also impact the application of health science knowledge. This is our primary reason for writing this book.

The importance of social and behavioral processes within the health sciences is often overlooked. Because of this, we offer the present textbook to help teach core research concepts that can help health science professionals better understand and work with complex behavioral and social processes. For those of us who teach research methods, one of the most gratifying experiences is watching others develop a passion for conducting research and an understanding of the practical value of systematic information gathering and decision making. Because the vitality of any branch of science depends on a solid grounding on research methods and analytic strategies, it is our belief that understanding research methods is among the most important competency building blocks within the health sciences.

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