Constraints and Selection Criteria & Hawk_HST2122 Assignment – Case Study

Hawk_HST2122 Assignment 1 Constraints Page 1
HST2122 Assignment 1
Topic Constraints and Selection Criteria

Selecting a good topic and effectively narrowing it for this assignment is the most important ingredient for ensuring successful assessments in this unit. Every part of your research proposal will be driven by the topic and research questions that you select – so select with care!

Your topic selection and narrowing must take into consideration the following constraints. Your research topic and question must:

1. fit under one of the 3 topics selected for this semester (see Unit Plan and Assignment 1 instructions for current semester topics)

2. fit within the definition of a social health research topic;

3. suit a novice researcher (you!) both practically and ethically;

4. be interesting to you, engage your curiosity!! and

5. for those continuing on to HST3501, an additional suggested guideline.

1. Fit within one of the 3 topics selected for this semester:

See the Unit Plan, Assignment 1 instructions and the document ‘Topic & Question Examples’ for assistance.

2. Social health research seeks to understand people’s:

 perceptions, behaviours and experiences in the face of health and illness,
 their experiences of health care,
 their coping and management strategies in relation to stressful events (e.g. Illness),
 their societal reactions to illness and
 the functioning of health services in relation to their effects on people.

(Bowling, 2009, p. 19)
3. Suit a Novice Researcher: Ethically and Practically

It is important that you select a topic and design your proposal realistically, reflecting your status as a novice researcher and the resources (e.g. time, money) available to you to complete the proposal. While you will be only developing a research proposal in HST2122, not implementing the research, the proposal (Assignment 1) should be something that you (as a novice researcher) could implement as a first research project. [NOTE: For those of you will actually be conducting a research project in HST3501 Health Research Project – see suggested additional criteria for you in item 5.]

In particular, your topic and research questions must address these practical and ethical consideration:

1. Practical consideration: Be relatively simple and straight forward
2. Ethical consideration: NOT involve deeply sensitive topics (e.g. mental health disorders, family violence) and
3. Ethical consideration: NOT involve participants from any vulnerable or sensitive groups (e.g. children, targeting people of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent).

General research areas (topics) deemed to be sensitive: (these are not exhaustive, others exist):

 “Where research intrudes into the private sphere or delves into some deeply personal experience;
Hawk_HST2122 Assignment 1 Constraints Page 2
 Where the study is concerned with deviance or social control;
 Where the study impinges on the vested interest of powerful persons or the exercise of coercion or domination; or
 Where the research deals with things that are sacred to those being studied that they do not wish profaned.”

(Lee & Renzeti, 1993, p. 6)
Sensitive or vulnerable groups include:
 4.1 Children and young people
 4.2 Women who are pregnant and the human foetus
 4.3 People in dependent or unequal relationships
 4.4 People highly dependent on medical care who may be unable to give consent
 4.5 People with a cognitive impairment, an intellectual disability, or a mental illness
 4.6 People who may be involved in illegal activity
 4.7 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
 4.8 People in other countries

(National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research, 2009)
The HST2122 Assignment 1 topic constraints related to topics of a sensitive nature or that would require the involvement of vulnerable groups have been imposed to ensure that ethical research is conducted. As novice researchers, you must be aware of your limitations and your lack of experience with the research process. As we will discuss in detail in the Ethical Research session, a fundamental ethical principle of researching is to ‘do no harm’ to anyone involved in the research process. Thus, as a novice researcher you may not address deeply sensitive topics or sensitive groups to ensure that you do not make errors while learning (if you implemented the project) that could cause damage to those participating in your research.

4. Be interesting to you and engage your curiosity!!
This unit can be enjoyable and productive for you if you select a topic that truly interests you, one that has some passion behind it. Your topic and question selection are EXTREMELY important as that decision will follow you for the next 7 weeks. Be good to yourself and choose thoughtfully!

5. Suggested guideline for students continuing to HST3501
Students continuing on to HST3501 may want to select a topic and research questions that can easily be adapted and expanded for use in HST3501 where you will be conducting a social health research study. To make it easy for you to collect data, it is suggested that you select a topic for which fellow students and family/friends would be effective study participants. This means that your research questions must be relevant to the more general population and not require more specific or specialised participants. For example, your topic may relate to diabetes but your questions must be such that they can be answered meaningfully by the general public, not just people with diabetes. Please discuss this with further with your tutor if this is a consideration for you.

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