Examine the impact of research findings with regard to service improvement and own professional development.

Unit 18: Innovation and Improvement through Action Research

Unit code A/616/1654
Unit type Core
Unit level 5
Credit value 30

 

Introduction

Why conduct research?’ It is an important and interesting question that should be considered when looking at ways to improve healthcare service provision. Some who embark on the research process find it can be daunting and see it as an obstacle to be overcome and swept aside as quickly as possible. Yet research can be a motivating and engaging experience, particularly for the researcher who is passionate about making a difference. Research can have a positive impact on local practice and policy, as well as promoting and informing global health programmes. Refining and using effective research skills and methods is key to being able to produce high-quality research that can contribute to developing a richer understanding of a phenomenon, driving improvements in public health and in healthcare as a whole.

The aim of this unit is to develop student’s research skills further to be able to carry out an independent piece of action research using human participants to contribute to service improvement. Students will make use of the Practice Themes in order to identify a suitable research project or extend a proposed study devised at level 4. Students will firstly develop a deeper understanding of the types of research conducted in public health and develop their research skills further to carry out a research study using their own research questions. Students will then go on to design their research methodology and carry out a piece of action research and produce findings to a range of audiences.

By the end of this unit students will be able to evaluate their research journey and its impact on their own practice and provision as well as its significance in contributing to wider public health service improvement. Students will be able to evaluate the success of their research and make recommendations for future research that extends or deepens understanding further.

*Please refer to the accompanying Pearson-set Assignment Guide and the Theme Release document for further support and guidance on the delivery of the Pearson-set unit.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Review the role of research in strategies to improve health and wellbeing
  2. Develop a methodological framework for action research into health and wellbeing improvement
  3. Carry out action research towards improvements in health and wellbeing
  4. Examine the impact of research findings with regard to service improvement and own professional development.

Essential content

LO1 Review the role of research in health and wellbeing improvement strategies

Areas of health and wellbeing improvement
Physical and/or mental health and wellbeing, e.g. safety or safeguarding/protection considerations
Social and/or socio-economic health and wellbeing, e.g. including health education, promotion and access to/use of services

Review of health and/or care service practice or provision to facilitate health and wellbeing improvement
Exploring the purpose of research for health and wellbeing improvement
Evidence-based practice
Ways that research can be used to innovate, e.g. to identify gaps in practice/provision, discover new treatments, develop quality of services, service improvement, towards improving life outcomes and health, wellbeing and safety of individuals, service improvement
Innovation in health and social care practice through research
New ways of working
New ways of managing
Introduction of new roles
Impact of research
Potential impact of research on practice and provision in health and social care – local and global
Potential impact on developing an integrated workforce and multi-professional working
Defining research topic focus and research questions
Identifying areas of research in health and wellbeing improvement using the
Practice Themes and as applied to own role in the workplace
Exploring current research or thinking in the field through a literature review to assess merits of research focus from current policy, news, media, own practice or research (secondary)
Exploring current research e.g. wellbeing, health inequalities, population health and social determinants of health (secondary)
Observing related practice in own setting, in other health, care or support service environments and gathering information (primary)
Considering primary and secondary evidence towards identifying area of innovation and service improvement for exploration
Defining research aims and objectives, e.g. research questions/hypotheses
Pearson BTEC Levels 4 and 5 Higher Nationals in Healthcare Practice –
Specification – Issue 2 – February 2018 © Pearson Education Limited 2018 271
Reviewing own skills in carrying out a piece of action research

Writing skills
Data collection and analysis skills using qualitative and quantitative methods
Critical reflexivity skills
Applying original and creative thought to an area of health and wellbeing improvement
Applying good ethical judgement to own and others’ research
Promoting ethical and participatory research, e.g. possessing strong communication and interpersonal skills to develop positive relationships with participants, consideration of individual needs

Organisational skills e.g. keeping a journal, planning and note taking
Persistence in pursuing research objectives approaching failure and mistakes as an opportunity to learn and develop
Being able to ask difficult questions
Being flexible and showing initiative to access or gather information and evidence
Critical observational skills

LO2 Develop a methodological framework for action research for health and wellbeing improvement

Identifying and developing appropriate qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods to gather and analyse data

Meaning and application of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods design studies
Typical methods used for collecting data in health and social care research, i.e. case studies, questionnaires, surveys, interviews, vignettes, observations, focus groups
Considering the importance of reliability and validity through triangulation, appropriate use of methods to answer research questions and analyse data Advantages and disadvantages of different techniques
Probability and nonprobability methods of selecting sample groups, e.g. random, volunteer, stratified and opportunity sampling
Consideration of participants to research when choosing appropriate methods to collect data, e.g. appropriateness and accessibility of participants
Ethical considerations when recruiting human participants
Codes of conduct and ethical guidelines as defined by health and/or social care public and professional bodies, or other professional organisations relevant to own practice
Legislation and regulation governing confidentiality, anonymity and data handling, rights of the individual, safeguarding/protection and health and safety

Role of the researcher and understanding impact of personal views and values
brought to the research process
Maintaining an unbiased approach to interpretation and reporting of
information
Access to organisations, gatekeepers, sensitive information
Mental capacity of individuals in providing informed consent and those
responsible for providing consent on behalf of individual users of services
Gaining sensitive information to provide background for research study from
individual participants
Ensuring individual needs of participants are met throughout research
process, e.g. recognition when individual participants become distressed or
wish to withdraw from research
Ensuring health, safety and wellbeing of self and participants during research
process
Codes of conduct relating to confidentiality, handling and storing information

LO3 Carry out action research towards improvements in health and wellbeing

Organising the process of research
Setting realistic timelines for completing action research study allowing for contingencies
Preparing and seeking approval of research through a project proposal that details: research title, rationale for research study, research questions/hypothesis/es, methods used for data collection, methods used for analysis of data, impact of research on influencing or improving healthcare service provision
The process of carrying out action research and undertaking simple data analysis
Collect data from research participants using methods of data collection

Review questions against initial findings making adaptations where appropriate
Conduct data analysis and present findings using qualitative and or quantitative methods
Data analysis techniques
Choosing appropriate techniques for data analysis
Quantitative techniques, e.g. descriptive statistics using mean mode median, histograms, pie and bar charts
Qualitative techniques, e.g. content or thematic analysis, grounded analysis, discourse and narrative analysis
Use of analytical tools and software and database packages used for manipulating data
Distinguishing between association and causation in relationship among variables
Pearson BTEC Levels 4 and 5 Higher Nationals in Healthcare Practice – Specification – Issue 2 – February 2018 © Pearson Education Limited 2018 273

LO4 Examine the impact of research findings with regard to service improvement and own professional development

Drawing conclusions and presenting findings
Develop discussion based on findings and link to literature sourced in the field
Reach conclusions and identify main findings of research
Present findings to individuals in specified formats, e.g. research report using required academic writing skills, PowerPoint, poster presentation
Evaluate performance and impact of research in public health, health promotion
Lessons learned and future research direction
Implications of research on own practice and organisation
Implications of research findings on wider practice and provision locally and globally
Reflections on research journey and use of research as a tool for developing practice, driving change and contributing to supporting public health improvement
Identifying personal and professional development needs and setting targets

Learning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria

 

Pass Merit Distinction
LO1 Review the role of research in health and
wellbeing improvement strategies
LO1 and LO2
D1 Critically evaluate
how effectively research
methodologies selected
support proposed action
research study in health
and wellbeing
improvement
P1 Discuss the role of
research in defining
research questions for a
piece of action research
in health and social care
P2 Review own skills in
conducting a piece of
action research into
health and wellbeing
improvement
M1 Evaluate own skills in
defining research
questions for a piece of
action research in health
and wellbeing
improvement
LO2 Develop a methodological framework for action
research in health and wellbeing improvement
P3 Illustrate in detail
appropriate research
methods for investigating
research
questions/hypothesis
P4 Discuss ethical
considerations when
researching human
participants
M2 Analyse the
methodological approach
taken to answer research
questions
LO3 Carry out action research towards improvements
in health and wellbeing
D2 Critically analyse
research findings using
appropriate data analysis
techniques
P5 Implement a piece of
action research in health
and wellbeing
improvement
P6 Interpret data using
appropriate data analysis
techniques
M3 Analyse research
data from action research
using appropriate data
analysis techniques
LO4 Examine the impact of research findings with
regard to service improvement and own professional
development
D3 Critically evaluate
research study in terms
of influencing change and
its value in improving
quality of health and
social care service
provision nationally and
globally 
P7 Discuss the potential
impact of findings from
action research study on
health and wellbeing
improvement
P8 Discuss own learning
in research journey
identifying strategies for
future developmental
needs in conducting
ethical research into
health and wellbeing
improvement
M4. Evaluate how
findings relate to
research questions in
supporting improvement
in health and wellbeing
and own professional
development

 

Recommended resources
Textbooks
BELL, J. and WATERS, S. (2014) Doing Your Research Project: A Guide for FirstTime researchers. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
CROOKES, P.A., Davies, S. and Chiarelli, M. (2004) Research into Practice:
Essential Skills for Reading and Applying Research in Nursing and Healthcare. (2nd Ed.) Edinburgh: Baillière Tindall.
NEWELL, R. and BURNARD, P. (2010) Research for Evidence-based Practice in Healthcare (Vital Notes). (2nd Ed.) London: Wiley-Blackwell
THOMAS, G. (2013) How to Do your Research Project: A Guide for Students in Education and Applied Social Sciences. (2nd Ed.) London: SAGE Publications.
TRAYNOR, T. (2017) Critical Resilience for Nurses: An Evidence-based Guide to Survival and Change in the Modern NHS. Oxford: Routledge.

Links
This unit links with a number of units in the qualification, depending on the topic
researched.

  LEARNING REQUIREMENTS (UNIT CONTENT) ASSESSMENT REQUIREMENTS (ASSESSMENT CRITERIA)
THEME 1: LAW, REGULATION AND ETHICAL PRACTICE LO2 P4
THEME 6: NUMERACY IN
PRACTICE
LO3 P6, M3, D2

 

In addition to the explicit links above, this unit can link to all other Practice Themes
in the qualification, depending on the topic researched

Essential requirements

Case study material is essential and can be provided by the tutor or based on students’ work situations.

Delivery

Tutors must be appropriately qualified and experienced in the health and social care sector to cover the principles and skills development aspects of this unit.

Assessment
Students must be given time to develop their workplace experience, knowledge and understanding before assessment of this unit. They will be expected to present evidence based substantially on their work in health, care and/or support services. Evidence against practice-based criteria can be collated in the Practical Learning and Development Portfolio (PLAD).

Employer engagement and vocational contexts
A letter to employers that briefly outlines the Learning Outcomes of this unit may be helpful to support students’ workplace learning needs. An exemplar letter is given in the PLAD that accompanies this specification.

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