NAPWHA Research Webinar: Methods in social and behavioural research

This webinar aimed to provide greater awareness of social and behavioural research methods and methodologies; to increase knowledge and understanding of the strengths and limitations of survey research; and increase knowledge and understanding of the strengths and limitations of qualitative longitudinal research. It was one in a series of research capacity building webinars being programmed by the NAPWHA Research Initiative. The webinar was facilitated by Dr John Rule, Senior Research Manager NAPWHA and Dr Jeanne Ellard joined the webinar as a discussant.

“After attendting this webinar, I would like to be more involved in HIV research – completing surveys, being interviewed, being part of an advisory group. As a worker in the HIV sector, a woman, and a peer I feel I have a unique and valuable perspective (as does everyone).” 

Dr James MacGibbon (Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW) a social and behavioural scientist researching HIV prevention and coordinator for the Gay Periodic Surveys, provided an overview of the strengths and limitations of survey research for understanding the HIV epidemic in Australia, including the kind of knowledge it produces and the ways that it can inform the HIV response in Australia.

Associate Professor Lisa Fitzgerald (School of Public Health, University of Queensland) a public health sociologist with research interests in the health and wellbeing of people experiencing marginalisation and the social determinants of (sexual) health and Associate Professor Allyson Mutch (School of Public Health, University of Queensland), a Senior Fellow in the Higher Education Academy, who uses qualitative methods to investigate the health and wellbeing of people who are socially excluded also gave a presentation. Lisa and Allyson outlined the strengths and limitations of using qualitative longitudinal research methods for producing new knowledge related to the experience of living with HIV in Australia; they also discussed ways in which this type of knowledge can be used to inform HIV health and wellbeing services in Australia.

“I really see the value in looking at people over time (longitudinal Qualitative),and appreciate the dedication, difficulties and complexities of this format – this provides a really interesting viewpoint across the historical contexts and how this might influence perceptions, care, issues, outcomes, etc – context is critical to take in to account when looking at any information.”
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