Evaluating Research Processes


EvaluatingResearch Processes


Evaluatingresearch processes

Reeveset al. (2014) have provided a tangible study in this authoredarticle. The research is a longitudinal study on social networkscontribution to health and self-management of patients with long-termconditions. Literature review has been used in the article to showhow the efficacy of self-management strategy in improving themanagement of patients with long-term conditions. Literature reviewof relevant materials has started by showing how social networksinfluences the extent of use of drugs such as alcohol, cigarettes andothers that eventually cause health issues. The authors have used thestudy to prove that there is relationship between poor personal andcommunity social capital and poor health outcomes. Literature reviewin the article has shown that various types of relationships havevarious types of health support-thus showing the importance ofdifferent relationship ties and health support for the people livingwith long-term conditions.

Beyondthe above-mentioned indications, literature review in the article hasbeen used to show how friends and family members provide support tothe patients who possess long-term illnesses, for instance, the Shawand Dorling’s census. The analysis by the two individuals, indicatethat sometimes there is increase in the need of informal health carein some cases. Another prove of role played by social networks in thelives of patients with long-term conditions is the nature of itsdynamism. For instance, the relationship between the patient and thecaregiver is negatively affected when illness intensifies. Anotherpoint is that comes out clearly is that members of a social networkmay be pushed away from each other by the condition of illness itselfor by the that the approach of the member being cared for to the caregiven.

Althoughresearchers have good intentions when undertaking their researchwork, their interaction with research participants may haveunintentional adverse effects. In the article, patients and otherparticipants may be affected negatively in various ways. Forinstance, patients may be affected psychologically due to thequestions asked and other factors. To avoid this, researchers musthave designed their questionnaires to be free from questions that mayaffect the patients psychologically. When it comes to the questionsregarding the patient’s social networks, some patients may besocially affected. Therefore, the researcher must consider usingquestions that are patient friendly to avoid this. For instance,where the questionnaire required the patients to rate their networkmembers, some members may feel offended. Another ethicalconsideration to the researcher is to avoid affecting theparticipant’s or the patient’s financial position when conductingtheir research. A patient might also be emotionally affected when theresearchers ask questions targeting the emotional well-being of thepatient. It is the responsibility of the researcher to consider ifthere is existence any type of harm and put the necessary mechanismsto remove the harm and ensure ethical standards are followed.

Generally,scientists undertake an experiment to prove that an observed effectshould not be attributed to the chance alone. In simple terms, thisis termed as rejecting the null hypothesis. For instance, &quotp&quotisused toshowthat the null hypothesis is correct. Example, in the change of healthoutcomes, where self-management p&lt0.001, if probability thatexperimental mean carried by researcher is different from controlmean-is greater than 0.001, the difference here is not significant.However, if p=&lt0.001, different in both means is considered to besignificant and the hypothesis under test is rejected. In all theresults, the differences were seen to be significance in the analysisand thus, the null hypothesis is accepted instead of being rejected.In the case of health economic outcomes, p&lt0.05, after theexperiment the health service cost indicated p&lt0.01. Thus,indicating significance of the hypothesis. There was difference inthe service costs between patients with social networks and those whohave less social networks. Here again, the social network becomingsignificant.

Interms of statistical analysis, social network was important inimprovement of patient’s self-management over the twelve-monthperiod. It also indicated lowering of service cost on the side of thepatient seeking improved social network. However, there is indicationthat there is no much difference in the patient’s physical healthimprovement, their emotional well-being, as well as healthy behavior.Statistical data analysis indicated improvement in healthy behaviorsfor the patients who had social involvements. Service cost reductionwas because patients with social networks did not spend nights inhospitals but instead at their homes. Physical health increased withincrease in the number of social involvements. Statistically, socialnetworks can be said to be significant in improving long-termconditions patient’s self-management.

Theconclusions made in the study matches the results of the study. Thisis because, the study concludes that social networks have importantrole to play in self-management of patients with long-term illnessbut the roles cannot be specified. The study clearly indicatessignificant differences between patients who have social networks andthose who do not have. Therefore, even if the study did not specifythe specific roles that social network are playing in various aspectsof improvement, it clearly shows that there is a potential role ofsocial networks in self-management of patients living with long-termconditions. For instance, the study has shown importance of communitygroups in the support of patient’s self-management as well aspatient’s mental wellness. The study has also shown that, even if asocial network does not have direct impact on individual health perse, there is relationship between health needs and the social networkneeded. Patients who were well connected to community groups andother voluntary groups had improved self-management.

Thespecific aim of the study was to determine whether social networks ofpeople with long-term diseases have relationship with health-relatedoutcomes and in particular self-management. This is whether there isa change in self-management outcome over-time. The conclusion in thestudy responds to the question of the study. It shows that there isneed for harnessed social networks to assist patients with long-termconditions to better self-management. The study concludes byindicating that self-management is not individualized phenomena butnetworked phenomena lending these conclusions appropriate to thestudy.

Thereis enough information to help one decide the effectiveness of thestudy because of the following reasons: first, the literature reviewwas properly covered with recent studies and sources. There were bothprimary and secondary sources of the previous study on the same areaof study. The second factor is the use of appropriate study group.The researchers selected a good sample of patients with long-termconditions (diabetes and Chronic Heart Diseases). This means that theresearchers used first hand information to undertake their study.Thirdly, good methods of data analysis were utilized to come up withconclusions and thus making the whole study significant andeffective.


Reeves,D., Blickem, C., Vassilev, I., Brooks, H., Kennedy, A., Richardson,G., &amp Rogers, A. (2014). The Contribution of Social Networks tothe Health and Self-Management of Patients with Long-Term Conditions:A Longitudinal Study. PloSone,9(6),e98340.