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Encountering Unexpected Challenges and Responding With Flexibility and Teamwork: A Maternal and Newborn Health Study in Myanmar

By: , , & Published: 2020 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases: Medicine and Health
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When we conduct an epidemiological study, we make our best effort to minimize bias in the study design, the recruitment of study participants, and data collection. Researchers in Global Health generally conduct field surveys outside their home countries. Background information is often scarce when designing a study protocol, and unexpected barriers and issues frequently come up in the field. When researchers are obliged to modify their sampling strategy and their field work procedures, accurate information from the ground and close communication among the research team members are required. It is important, as well, that researchers always respect study participants and the field workers who are charged with collecting the data. This case study provides insights into the practicalities of how one might address emerging issues and adopt alternatives in a field study. Specifically, it shows how our modified strategy in a Myanmar study affected the workload of field workers and the participation of mothers and their newborns. It is made clear that researchers are able to disseminate meaningful findings and implications only if they carefully assess study results and field observations and explicitly recognize the limitations of the study.

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