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Boston University School of Public Health, Research Paper Example

Pages: 2

Words: 633

Research Paper

Introduction

Decisions regarding the type of study to undertake require investigators to examine their intent with the research questions that have been developed and what is required to address these questions effectively within a given research protocol. Therefore, different types of studies must be examined in this context, including the use of prospective versus retrospective research questions. These studies are unique and different from each other and are designed to address unique variables; therefore, it is important to identify the key variables that will impact decision-making and also influence outcomes in a manner that is consistent with the investigator’s intent and purpose.

Analysis

Prospective research questions often coincide with the cohort study model, whereby an investigator is responsible for creating the study from start to finish and recruiting the appropriate subjects before outcomes of interest have been created, and the investigator must establish an area of focus that will influence questions that require long-term review and analysis such as cancer or chronic diseases (Boston University School of Public Health, 2015). There must be a greater emphasis on selecting a topic of interest that will have lasting benefits for a given population group so that a number of questions may be answered from study inception to completion and beyond (Boston University School of Public Health, 2015). An example of this type of study would involve examining patients with diabetes over a long period of time in order to address the changes related to the disease and their impact on human health within the selected population group.

Retrospective research questions examine data from prior research that was likely collected for different reasons and utilizes it to examine another set of research questions (Hess, 2004). This is often viewed as a chart review method that evaluates data in a manner that is consistent with the principles of a different set of questions, but the data is not new and has not been generated by the investigator (Hess, 2004). This type of study enables an investigator to focus on the subject area in question and provides a basis for examining a new issue for which older data might be relevant (Hess, 2004). However, this type of study must be thorough in order to achieve the intended outcomes and should not be completed without intense evaluation and scrutiny of the existing data (Hess, 2004). This type of study may examine chart reviews for a specific set of patients that meet certain age constraints or possess scores within a desired range; therefore, these must be examined closely in the retrospective study to identify their validity for the new research protocol (Hess, 2004). An example of this type of study would be to examine hypertension based upon chart reviews, using age and other demographic criteria from these charts to identify patterns in hypertension that may aid in future studies and research.

Conclusion

The prospective research design offers investigators the opportunity to develop a research study from scratch and to develop a human subject recruitment protocol that will have a lasting impact in answering the desired research questions. This type of study is appropriate in answering questions that may require new data in order to achieve the intended results. On the contrary, the retrospective research design utilizes existing data from other studies in new ways in order to develop new ideas regarding existing information that may be useful to the research community. There are different reasons to utilize each type of study and to demonstrate the importance of how data is collected in order to achieve the desired outcomes and to create opportunities to generate and/or evaluate data in different ways that will have an impact on the research questions under consideration.

References

Boston University School of Public Health (2015). Prospective versus retrospective cohort studies. Retrieved from http://sphweb.bumc.bu.edu/otlt/MPH-Modules/EP/EP713_CohortStudies/EP713_CohortStudies2.html

Hess, D.R. (2004). Retrospective studies and chart reviews. Respiratory Care, 49(10), 1171-1174.

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