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Research and development 

Research and development
Research and development

Tom Burns

, and Mike Firn

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date: 08 August 2020

This chapter covers the spectrum of routine monitoring, audit, service evaluation, and formal research. Routine monitoring is an essential task for all mental health professionals, and techniques to make it more palatable are explored, including using routine data for clinical supervision and monitoring team targets. Regular audit is described as an essential tool for logical service development and quality improvement. In the discussion of research, the importance of choosing the correct methodology and of paying attention to detail are stressed. In community psychiatry, sampling bias, regression to the mean, and the Hawthorne effect pose important risks. The hierarchy of research methods is outlined with randomized controlled trials (RCTs) at the top, preferably with either single- or double-blinding. Careful statistics and systematic reviews support evidence-based practice. In addition to experimental quantitative trials, there is a place for cohort and case control trials, as well as for qualitative trials to generate hypotheses.

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