Checking your dementia research results

How much can you trust your findings when conducting research with people who have dementia? Consider how they measure up.

Sense checking

You should review your results and see if they make sense! Check for:

  • reliability: ask yourself - would you be likely to see similar results if you asked the same people the same questions again?
  • validity: ask yourself - are the findings are a well-founded representation of the world? 

Check your qualitative data findings for their credibility.

Ask yourself:

  • would people recognise their feedback and experiences as their own?
  • would it be helpful to ask a colleague to check and agree your interpretations of the data?
  • are your findings consistent or inconsistent with other data? why?
  • how will people reading your report be able to follow your thinking and understand the rationale behind your decisions?
  • have you explained any changes that have had an effect on your activity - for example any budget cuts that will limit the options you have to respond to people's ideas and wishes?
  • can you show you have acted with integrity - for example that you have noted, and used, people's own words in interviews rather than glossing interpretations of what they said?
  • how do your results compare to what's been found out about the experiences of people using similar services or settings?

Triangulating quantitative and qualitative data

It can be useful to have used a mix of quantitative and qualitative data in order to help with your sense-checking. Qualitative data can help explain why people have responded to a question, as well as allow unanticipated explanations of a phenomenon to emerge. Comparing your quantitative and qualitative findings to get the overall picture is called triangulation.

If your two types of data are at odds with each other, pause to reflect. Why might this be? Do you need to return to your people and ask more questions?

How does people's experience measure up to what they should expect? 

You may find it useful to check your findings against

You can then use what you see should be better, to help you to action plan for improvement.

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