Health Management, Ethics and Research Module: 10.  General Principles of Health Research and Introduction to Community Surveys

Study Session 10  General Principles of Health Research and Introduction to Community Surveys


One of the very first tasks that you will do as a Health Extension Practitioner when you are deployed to a kebele is to find out everything you can about the people in your community and the factors that influence their health. This information is vitally important because the services you provide must be targeted to meet the community’s needs. The way you begin to find out this information is to conduct a community survey, which is a specific type of health research. The purpose of the survey is to generate data to help you construct a community profile – a report on the households in the community, their inhabitants and their health needs and problems. Your knowledge of what data to collect, how to collect it and how to make sense of your findings by analysing and interpreting the data, will be covered in detail in Study Sessions 11 to 15.

However, before you can conduct your community survey, you need to understand the general principles of health research, which apply not only to community surveys, but to other types of health research which you may wish to undertake in the future. This study session will introduce you to those principles and prepare you for later study sessions. You may be asking yourself why it is necessary for you to learn about health research. You can think of health research as a problem solving tool, to focus your efforts on health interventions in areas that will be of most benefit to your community. In order to know what these interventions are, you require accurate information on community health needs, and reliable knowledge about the possible consequences of any actions you take to address those needs. The community survey is the most important form of health research that you will undertake, but you may also be able to conduct some small-scale health research projects to investigate specific health issues in your community. This study session will help to prepare you for these possibilities.

Learning Outcomes for Study Session 10