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The Importance of Research for Therapists Part 3

The Importance of Research for Therapists Part 3

Collecting and evaluating research material

The purpose of obtaining research material for review is to evaluate its relevance generally and consider its relevance to the specific.  To be proficient in information collection, analysis and interpretation, some of the skills needed to use it efficiently and appropriately include:

=>        Locating and accessing existing literature

=>        Understanding the methods of data collection and the strengths and weaknesses of each method

=>        Knowledge of how data can be analysed and manipulated and the threats to validity and reliability

=>        Understanding of the limitations in the interpretation of research findings

=>        Knowledge of the way in which results and findings are brought into the public arena.

Consider each of the above skills in turn for a moment and in Work Box Two write down four other skills a practitioner needs to develop to be proficient in this area.

Applying research skills

Literature covering a range of issues relevant to therapeutic practice is available in most libraries world wide, all of it intended for the consumption of practitioners and students.  Research in therapeutic practice, as distinct from experimental research, largely involves the reporting of case studies and those concerning treatment evaluations and intervention outcomes.

A number of issues are raised for therapists and researchers in professional practice and perhaps the most important is that concerning the ethics of professional engagement, either in intervention or in undertaking applied research.  Therapists, for example, registered with the National College of Hypnosis & Psychotherapy under the auspices of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy, are required to observe clear prescribed guidelines when conducting research with clients.

It is important to remember that the perceived professional status of the therapist may involve assumptions by clients that the practitioner has attained appropriate competence.  Additionally, assumptions that practitioners are conscious of current developments in their field of intervention may also be made.  That the therapist bases his/her intervention and research method upon contemporary knowledge, is likely to be part of beliefs about the therapist held by client.

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