The term research is defined as an active, thorough and systematic process of enquiry that is aimed at discovering, interpreting and revising facts. It is defined by Lancaster (1975) as “a planned, systematic search for information, for the purpose of increasing the total of man’s knowledge”. It is described by Polit and Beck (2004) as being systematic enquiry. They write that “the ultimate goal of research is to develop, refine and expand a body of knowledge”. The importance of carrying out research is to further knowledge, enhance understanding and to assess effectiveness. The word research itself derives from the French language and when translated literally means “to investigate thoroughly”.
In the Health and Social Care sector research is important. It has various purposes, roles and value within Health and Social Care. As today’s society is an information-driven one nearly all decisions made regarding policies and practices require deliberation and evaluation of the evidence base. This basically means that health and social care professionals are no longer able to rely solely on just theoretical knowledge. This is where research comes into practice. In social care today organisations are expected to be research-minded. This means that research must be carried out, which can be done in a variety of forms. In the Health and Social Care sector research has many purposes. The main purposes of research are to confirm policy, confirm practice, to disprove propositions, to extend knowledge and understanding and to improve practice. All service providers need information about the needs of a community, or group of people before it can be decided what resources and services are required to meet this need. Therefore research is required. By carrying out research in health and social care practice can be improved and knowledge extended. Once research is published and is made available to health and social care practitioners the findings can be used to improve...
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