Improvement Science and Research Methods seminar: Prof Alicia O’Cathain on process evaluation in clinical trials

alicia2 Professor of Health Services Research at the University of Sheffield, Alicia O’Cathain, who heads the Medical Care Research Unit at ScHARR, gave an outstanding CaHRU/LIH seminar on ‘Using process evaluations alongside randomised controlled trials and other outcome evaluations’ on 23 May 2018 at the University of Lincoln.

CaHRU_logotypeThe seminar was based on the Medical Research Council guidance on process evaluations (Moore G, Audrey S, Barker M, Bond L, Bonell C, Cooper C, Hardeman W, Moore L, O’Cathain A, Tannaze T, Wight D, Baird J. Process evaluation of complex interventions. Medical Research Council guidance. BMJ 2015 350:h1258) which Prof O’Cathain co-authored. She described the importance of process evaluations using mixed methods in helping researchers realise how understanding trial processes can help us appreciate how or why a complex interventions works or does not work as intended, which is critical to its effectiveness and subsequent implementation.

LIFH-logo-web2She went on to describe the contextual factors that determine how an intervention works, limit what is delivered, affect how it works and govern what effects it has. Qualitative interviews with those delivering or receiving the intervention can help elucidate the components that are deemed useful and their perceived benefits while quantitative analysis can help to enumerate the mediators of any effects. The analysis can be integrated to develop a logic model and programme theory of the intervention.

Prof O’Cathain concluded by covering key aspects of planning, analysis and reporting of process evaluations and introducing her new book on the subject.

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By Prof A N Siriwardena

Implementation science and research methods seminar: statistical modelling of time series data

Dr Murray SmithThe latest CaHRU Implementation Science and Research Methods seminar was presented by Dr Murray Smith on 25th October 2016, on the topic of statistical modelling of time series data. Dr Smith, research fellow at the Community and Health Research Unit (CaHRU), is an econometrician with a wide range of experience and research interests in micro-econometric modelling, health informatics, health economic modelling, mathematical statistics and computer algebra. Murray has previously worked as an Associate Professor in the Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics at the University of Sydney, Australia, and as an Associate Professor at the School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham before coming to the University of Lincoln. His research has focuses on the quality of use of pharmaceutical medicines in chronic disease, with analyses that utilise prescribing data drawn from a large database of general practice patient records.

segmentedregressionHe introduced his topic by defining (and giving examples) of data, and related these to how researchers can statistically model time series data in different ways. Murray described four fundamental components of times series including: time (Tt); Cycle (Ct); Seasonal (St) and Irregular (It). He also gave examples of Time Series Analysis Curves such as survival data, Engle’s AutoRegressive Conditional Heteroscedasticity (ARCH) and segmented regression. He showed how modelling time series data can be useful for quality improvement research, as this can facilitate the measurement of outcomes or impact over time and extrapolate or estimate future values or outcomes. A time series method (using segmented regression) is being used in a paper currently being prepared by Dr Murray Smith and Professor Niro Siriwardena for publication.

QIlogoDr Smith concluded his interesting presentation by recommending three key books for further reading on Statistical Modelling of Time Series Data: Time Series Analysis by Jame D Hamilton, Time Series Analysis: Forecasting and Control by George E. P. Box et al. and Introduction to Time Series and Forecasting by Peter J. Brockwell & Richard A. Davis. He made the session so interesting that participants asked for further presentations on time series analysis. For his next seminar, Murray will focus more on use of the method for current research at CaHRU to enable more researchers to apply this method to their research.

By Joseph Akanuwe

Improvement science and research methods seminar on discourse analysis given by Michael Toze

CaHRU Website

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mtozeThe latest ‘Improvement science and research methods seminar’ on ‘Discourse analysis’ was delivered by Michael Toze, doctoral student at CaHRU. Discourse analysis aims to study the use of oral and textual communication in relation to meaning beyond the words, social context and thought and focuses on analysing how speech and text are organised to achieve an end. The speaker went on to explain related methods such as conversation analysis, content analysis, critical discourse analysis and ethnomethodology an their applications. Finally, Michael described how he was using discourse analysis in his doctoral research exploring competing discourses about sexuality, gender identity and health in LGBT people interacting with general practice staff. The seminar was well attended by colleagues from CaHRU, the School of Health and Social Care, and researchers from Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust and East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust.