Bereavement Research Forum
Bereavement Research Forum
3. Deciding whether to engage in research
3.1 What is the role of research and who owns it?
An initial question needs to be asked: ‘Does the organisation wish to engage in
research, as a related but separate activity to that of primary caring/service delivery
and audit?’ If the answer is yes, then the implication is that the research culture is
‘owned’ as an organisational commitment. Ownership implies commitment to the
* place of research within the overall enterprise of the agency
* activity of the research and an understanding about its effects on the emphasis and
priorities of ongoing service provision
* practice implications that are indicated by the research findings.
Some research methods, such as ‘action research’, demand a very active ownership
by the organisation because the ‘finding out’ is integrated within ongoing practice
activity and practitioners are intensively used. Other methods may run in parallel with
the primary care functions but will have resource implications for the agency (e.g.
funding of interviewers, administrative support etc).
3.2 What is needed to support research?
The support and supervision of researchers is just as important as it is for clinical
practice. What available resources are there to undertake this? Do resources need to
A structure is necessary to approve and monitor research projects within the strategic
policy decided by the organisation/team. The questions central to decision making
about individual pieces of work are:
* Does the proposal fit with the organisational aims? (Organisational aims may need
to be revisited and/or clarified in order to answer this question).
* Does the proposal fit with good research practice? i.e. Is it ethical and practical?
* From an organisation point of view is the timing right?
* What are the resource implications – human and financial?
A group needs to be designated, either as part of an existing function or with a
specific research responsibility, to approve research projects (i.e. to function as an
‘ethics committee’ or to prepare a presentation for an external ethics committee) and
to monitor the progress of the research project. (A suggested organisational protocol
for undertaking ethical research is provided in Appendix One)
Key considerations in reviewing the issue of research are:
* The place of research within organisational strategy
* The prioritising of themes and issues for research attention
* The structures and protocols for the approval and monitoring of projects
* The means of ensuring the resource base exists to sustain research and
* The means by which research will be put into practice
McLeod, J. (1993) An Introduction to Counselling. Buckingham: Open University
Parkes. C.M. (1995) Guidelines for Conducting Ethical Research Death
Silverman PR (2000) Research, clinical practice and the human experience: putting
the pieces together. Death Studies: 24, 469-478.
Stroebe M, Hanson RO, Stroebe W and Schut H. (2001) Handbook of bereavement
research: consequences, coping and care. Washington: American Psychological