Purpose of the study
The objective of the current study is to describe how the application of qualitative methods and internet-based methods can be used encourage community outreach workers to participate in community-based research in the assessment of public health intervention (Peacock et al, 2011, p. 2275).
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- Outreach workers are also able t o function as researchers, in addition to their work
- Outreach workers prefer verbally relating their encounters with respondents, as
- opposed to the use of such written methods as field notes or journaling
- Outreach workers yearn for maximum flexibility in filling reports as it is very hard for
- them to complete the activity with their busy schedules
The study mainly targets women of African American descent living in Chicago, IL, and who are often faced with the challenges of high infant and perinatal mortality and morbidity rates (Peacock et al, 2011, p. 2275).
Type of research
The current research was of the exploratory type. It involved the use of a VoIP phone-in system to identify at-risk pregnant women among the target population, so that they could be placed on a Medicaid reimbursed social and health services.
The study was qualitative in nature. The research was aimed at exploring the role of outreach workers who had participated in a community-based intervention program. In this case, the outreach workers would first receive training on certification in research ethics and qualitative research methodology (Peacock et al, 2011, p. 2275). The outreach workers utilized Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone-in system.
This instrument would help the outreach workers to obtain narrative reports regarding the challenges that the participants (women in the community) are often faced with. In addition, the VoIP phone-in system would also assist the outreach workers to narrate their individual experiences in their capacity as outreach workers.
The methodology involved administering the Healthy Births for Healthy Communities (HBHC) program among women in 2 communities in Chicago, IL. The two communities are mainly made up of women of African American descent. One of the defining traits of the women was high perinatal as well as infant mortality and morbidity rates. In this case, community outreach workers were used to identify at-risk pregnant women so that they could then be enrolled in Medicaid reimbursed social and health services (Peacock et al, 2011, p. 2275).
In order for the women to be considered eligible for the current program, the pregnant women also had to be of low income status. Also, these women should not have been part of a similar program in the past. Once the outreach workers had identified the study’s respondents using the VoIP phone-in system, they had to fill out engagement logs and canvassing forms about those women that they had encountered while executing their outreach activities.
Data was collected using the VoIP system, which enabled outreach workers to call the numbers provided and leave a message (Peacock et al, 2011, p. 2277). The outreach workers were also provided with scripts. This would enable them to record stories that according to them had a lot of relevance to the project.
The qualitative data collected by the outreach workers on the study’s respondents gave them useful insights that could not otherwise have been collected by the evaluation team ((Peacock et al, 2011, p. 2278). For example, the outreach workers were able to learn more about the complex lives that the poor pregnant women had to undergo. In addition, the outreach workers also met with rewards and challenges that characterize the role of an outreach worker.
The study revealed that lay health workers may play a crucial role in research work. In addition, the study also revealed that it is quite possible to tailor training in research methods and ethics to suit the preferences and educational level of the lay health workers (Peacock et al, 2011, p. 2280).
Another finding of the study is that the useful insights of lay health workers can provide us with vital perspectives and information that could be hard to acquire using other data collection techniques. Moreover, the study revealed that training sessions can also be used as a venue to address the various challenges encountered by lay health workers when they are used as both lay health workers and researchers.
The study’s objectives are very clear and in the end, the study has been able to achieve the set objective. The language used by the study is also very coherent, and it had been referenced properly, both in-text and at the reference section. The authors of the study have explored the methodology section in detail and as such, it is much easier for the researcher to follow the study.
On the other hand, the study neither has a clear hypothesis, not does it contain questionnaires. Nonetheless, the researchers have managed to identify a number of limitations that they were faced with while undertaking the project and this further adds credibility to the study. It would also have been useful if the researchers are able to enumerate some of the study’s delimitations as well.
Furthermore, the researchers have not made an attempt to incorporate an ethical consideration section. For instance, since the community outreach workers would have to use VoIP phone-in system and scripts to collect data, this would constitute inversion of personal privacy. As such, it is important to take into account ethical considerations. While carrying out a research study of this nature, it is important to first seek consent from the ethical committee of the institution to which the project is affiliated.
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Peacock, N., Issel, M., Townsell, S. J., Chapple-McGruder, TG., & Handler, A. (2011).
An Innovative Method to Involve Community Health Workers as Partners in Evaluation Research. American Journal of Public Health, 101(12), 2275-80