Effective health planning requires good quality data, but many health facilities lack the ability to provide this. Health questions often have to be answered within specific research studies. Microcomputers are now generally recommended and used by researchers for data analysis at the end of projects. The article reviews the use of microcomputer based management of data collection during a study. A selection of pojects are described, all of which have used microcomputers in a decentralised fachio, closer to the point of data collection. The main advantages of this approach are a significant reduction in error rates, and the ability to produce data quickly.
Listening to Local Voices: Adapting Rapid Appraisal to Assess Health and Social Needs in General Practice
This paper explores the use of rapid appraisal in defining the health and social needs of a community. The aim is to formulate joint action plans between residents and service providers. Data was collected by an extended primary care team from three sources to build a profile of the community: existing documents about the neighbourhood, interviews with a range of informants, and direct observations. Perceived problems of the community and suggestions for change were used as the main outcome measures of the study. Interviews and focus groups identified six priorities for change, many of which were not health related. These changes have been or are being implemented. The paper concludes that an expanded primary care team can use rapid appraisal as a first step in identifying and meeting local health needs. It facilitates a multi-disciplinary approach and complements quantitative methods of assessing need.
Local leaders in south eastern Bolivia identified a rapid decline in the number of traditional healers (payes) and concluded that their indigenous health system was at risk. They commissioned an appraisal of indigenous health knowledge to improve understanding and come up with a plan of action. The article describes the methodology used, including how the people moved from analysis to action plans, and also some of the outcomes of the exercise.
This third edition of the The Sage Handbook of Action Research presents an updated version with new chapters covering emerging areas in healthcare, social work, education and international development, as well as an expanded ‘Skills’ section which includes new consultant-relevant materials. Building on the previous editions, Hilary Bradbury has carefully developed this edition to ensure it follows in their footsteps by mapping the current state of the discipline, as well as looking to the future of the field and exploring the issues at the cutting edge of the action research paradigm today.