The politics of health services research: health professionals as hired hands in a commissioned research project in England.
AbstractPrevious health services research has failed to account for the role played by clinical staff in the collection of data. In this paper we use the work of Roth on hired hand research to examine the politics of evidence production within health services research. Sociologies of work predict lack of engagement in the research tasks by subordinated groups of workers. We examine the role of midwives in researching ante-natal screening for sickle cell and thalassaemia in England, and construct three ideal types: repairers, refractors, and resisters to account for the variable engagement of health staff with research. We find some features of the hired hand phenomenon predicted by Roth to be in evidence, and suggest that the context of our project is similar to much health services research. We conclude that without concerted attempts (1) to change the social relations of research production; (2) to mitigate hired hand effects; (3) to assess the impact of the hired hand effect on the validity and reliability of findings, and (4) to report on these limitations, that health services research involving large teams of subordinated clinical staff as data collectors will be prone to produce evidence that is of limited trustworthiness. Keywords: evidence-based research; health services research; hired hands; politics of evidence; screening; midwives; research methodology; work and employment.
CitationDyson, Simon Martin and Dyson, Sue E. (2014) The politics of health services research: health professionals as hired hands in a commissioned research project in England. Sociological Research Online, 19 (3).
JournalSociological Research Online