This research project is being conducted to formulate an answer or theory to the question, ‘why do individuals use complementary therapy for the maintenance of health?’ Using a single case study a member of the ‘accessible population’ shall be interviewed using the semi-structured interview method. The data analysed is to provide a generalised answer that can be applied to the population being studied, which for the purposes of this research project are those who partake in complementary therapies.
The overall aim of the research project is to “obtain as representative a range of responses as possible to enable you [the researcher] to fulfil the objectives of the study and to provide answers to key questions”. (Bell, 1999) Background (of the topic) Using the quantitative research method a questionnaire was designed as a group project. This questionnaire consisted of 10 closed questions, which included demographic questions, all of which had multiple-choice answers (refer to appendix 1).
The questions were designed so that the overall answers when collated would provide an answer for the question ‘Why does an individual use a complementary therapy for the maintenance of health?’ Through the results collated from all of the group members’ we found that over half of those partaking in the questionnaire had received treatment for a medical condition. Unfortunately though the questionnaire only provided a brief answer to the research question. Seemingly it became apparent that it would be much more appropriate to conduct a qualitative study using an interview technique, as this would provide more detailed and in-depth answers upon the topic.
Question This research project is being conducted to provide an answer for the question ‘Why does an individual use a complementary therapy for the maintenance of health?’ Through the use of an interview this topic will be broken down, to allow for a more in-depth analysis. The subject (interviewee) This research project is to use a single-case study. Bell (1997) discusses case studies stating that they are a “follow up to put flesh on the bones of a survey. They can precede a survey and be used as a means of identifying key issues which merit further investigation”.
The survey that was partaken previous to this research project was in the form of a questionnaire. This questionnaire aided in identifying some issues that need to be developed further. These issues are to be discussed and developed through the interview of a single person whom is a sample representative of the population that have received complimentary therapies to maintain health. Sampling The sample is the group, or for the purposes of this study, the person, that is selected to be in the study. Trochim (2000) discusses sampling and states, “in most applied social research, we are interested in generalising to specific groups”. The group that a sample should be taken from should be the group that is to be generalised to, which is often referred to as the population.
There are two types of population, the ‘theoretical population’, which are those that the study is supposed to be generalised to, and the ‘accessible population’, which are those persons accessible to the researcher. As Bell (1999) acknowledges “you may be forced to interview anyone from the total population who is available and willing at the time”. Referring to this as ‘opportunity sampling’ she continues, “this is generally acceptable as long as the make-up of the sample is clearly stated and the limitations of such data are realised”. She does emphasise though that efforts should still be made to find a sample as representative of the population as possible.
Within this research project, the theoretical population is therefore those who use complementary therapies. However, the sample is drawn from the accessible population, which as mentioned previously is to be a student, friend, or a family member. From this population a sample is drawn, which is ‘representative of the population’, and used to conduct research. General conclusions can then be made from the results acquired and applied to the population. (Trochim, 2000)