NESCHA are delighted to announce that, thanks to a grant from the Big Lottery for our project, ‘Well being – it’s in our hands’, we, have by request, arranged a workshop on ‘Good and Bad Research’ It is aimed at our members but also any others who are volunteers in networks and organisations in which they are asked to comment on reports.
This interactive workshop, led by Denis Hart, an informative and popular presenter, will help to equip people with some insights and skills for understanding ‘evidence’ that they are presented with whilst working in networks.
In doing so we hope to also present some simple but effective ways of members conducting their own ‘research’ to influence others, supplemented by some simple presentational tips. Places are limited so please contact us using the e-mail below or Wade Tovey on 07976 363553 to express your interest and get further information in due course.
Just as we use a whole range of skills and experiences to identify good and bad practice, we are going to use our time together to help you spot poor research or evaluations or reports.
Poor work can be produced both unintentionally and intentionally. Poor research is usually due to sample sizes being too small or not truly representative of the user group. It often happens when short cuts are taken such as no pilot study because of tight funding or limited time. Bad research can also be attributable to bias held by the designer or interviewers, or even the commissioners of the work, but also occurs when data is misread or misinterpreted. The worst examples occur when the research sets out to ‘prove’ a particular point for self-interest. If for an ‘extreme’ example a Health authority wanted to close a local hospital it might interview young, fit, healthy, employed, car drivers – who are unlikely to need the NHS let alone a local hospital! Good research seeks to explore with an open mind.
No sponsorship of the work usually means no pre-determined views, but of course somebody must pay for such work. Good research maps out the issues to maximise inclusivity. It is evaluative and non-judgemental in interpretation. It tests hypotheses and should have a qualitative element built in to give greater meaning to the figures eg 9O% of trains from Darlington to Saltburn ran on time but fail to mention this was achieved by stopping 2O% of them short at Redcar!
Of course, despite conducting the sponsored ‘research’ the results may not be entirely to the sponsors desired outcome. In this case either selected parts of the research are published or the work is not made public at all, something many members are familiar with.
We hope, based on these insights, to present some simple but effective ways of conducting ‘research’ or evaluations’ to influence others.
We will conclude with a short session on how to present points of view to others effectively, not least explaining what NESCHA is about and what we are trying to achieve with this project.