It is important that ethical aspects are included so that the body of evidence that is available to policy makers reflects the diversity of the population. The essay will analyse this case study with a view to determining the value of the research to the participants and investigators, as well as assessing the validity and precision of the study.
For any research studies to go ahead, investigators have got to ensure that the study is valuable to the current body of knowledge and to the participants. Research has to contribute to improving the health and wellbeing, and in this case study, it sought to determine the links between suicidal tendencies and low cholesterol levels. The information derived from this research study would be valuable to participants, as they would be aware of factors that could be detrimental to their health. This information is also valuable to the patient population as it is thought to be specific to patients with Para suicidal tendencies. This research found that those patients with low cholesterol levels were more likely to develop suicidal tendencies than the control groups.
To further enhance the value, the study had to be designed in such a way that would reduce bias; which could have been introduced through age-related disorders such as dementia, anorexia, etc. Bias can also be introduced if the sample group is homogeneous, which is there is a significant proportion of males to females; however, the investigators have made sure each group has an equal split.
Validity and precision
The research sought to determine if there was any difference in cholesterol levels between the patient groups examined, and if there was an association between cholesterol level and measures of suicidal tendencies, impulsivity and depression. The study results and analysis revealed a significant difference in mean cholesterol levels between the three groups with the parasuicide group having the lowest levels and the psychiatric controls having the highest. This clearly satisfies the first aim of this research, and cholesterol, non-planning and motor sub scale scores of self reported impulsivity were significantly inversely related, which supports the second hypotheses. The validity and precision of these results could have been influenced by bias and other conditions, however, the investigators have taken a number of steps that would have reduced the probability of this occurrence.
One method of ensuring validity and precision is to select an appropriate sample size, sample method and make sure the confidence intervals are appropriate for the study. The sample method of selecting three groups provides a population spread and accounts for the various psychological conditions that exist. For example, normal controls will be different to psychiatric controls and this ensures the generalisation of the study results. Efforts have also been made to ensure the gender split is equal in all three groups, as the study found that there are some differences between the sexes.
The psychiatric controls also served to remove any bias that may have been or could be attached to the participants in the parasuicidal/DSH group. The age range was a potential source of bias, however the inclusion criteria was necessary as over 65s could present with symptoms that are asymptomatic of parasuicidal/DSH as a result of