Research Ethics/ Research Proposal, week 9

This week we are looking at why we should do a research proposal, in a nut shell it will explain to me and others, when, how and why I am looking at this particular question and how am I going to answer it.

With regards to my question – ‘how do patients perceive the experience of hypnoacupuncture?’ , I want to investigate what outcomes are important to patients rather then fitting them in to little tick boxes of what, we as researchers, assume is an important outcome. This in turn will inform future, more structured, questionnaire type research in order to make an attempt at measuring the outcomes obtained.

The outcome part of the question appears to be a useful and interesting area to investigate and will contribute to the wider CAM society. The main issue for me is the hypnoacupuncture part, the intervention. Maybe there is so little work out there because no-one has considered it worth investigating. Or, it is so little known or used that the audience is so small it’s just not worth researching. It’s exciting to me and will improve my practice but this is not enough. As Kane (2004) states on page 27:-

If your research question has not been asked before -check why’

Is it relevant, is it researchable, will it generate meaningful conclusions?

Kane, M. (2004) Research Made Easy in Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Edinburgh, Churchill Livingstone.

Below is a table that is designed to develop the research proposal. This is my progress so far. It will be interesting to revisit it occasionally over the next few months to see how it progresses and changes as I gain new knowledge and experience

What is your proposed question or your topic area?  (in general, or specifically worded)

Population – patients with symptoms of anxiety

Intervention – hypnoacupuncture

Compare – to how they felt before – what is different

Outcome- patients experience of the intervention and subjective feelings about individual outcome

What is the perceived outcome and experience of hypnoacupuncture of patients experiencing symptoms of anxiety.

How will you investigate this?  (methodology proposed)

Qualitative, open-ended interviews. Research –in-action, reflective practitioner case studies (Rolfe 1995) Thematic analysis of data.

Not sure how many case studies. May even interview myself!

Ethics: Beware to not unintentionally coerce participants

What do you hope to explore/test/discover?  (notice I didn’t say ‘prove’!)

How patients experience the therapy to inform future development of the relatively novel therapy.

To evaluate what patients perceive as an important outcome for therm rather than assuming what is important. This could inform future measuring tools.

What are your main strengths and weaknesses?  (academically, in terms of time, commitments, etc.)

Room for improvement:

Not a great deal of time as have to work harder to pay for the course

Need to improve my ability to keep interest in quantitative study critical appraisal, I switch off when I see tables of numbers and graphs

Need to watch for researcher bias – investigating your own practice

Watch for despondency and loss of confidence in the therapy if getting negative results


Full commitment to the project

Keen interest in the subject

Interviewing skills and rapport gaining skills are excelling – communication skills are key to a good interview

Used to following codes of practice/conduct  and professional ethics

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