13.2.2  Criteria for choosing health problems to research

Although health research is not part of the central role of Health Extension Practitioners, it is really important that you are aware of possible research that is relevant to your work. This will help to keep you up to date with the health problems and their solutions elsewhere in the country, and support your work in planning and evaluating your own health service activities. But not all health problems require research. Whether the problem you identified requires research or not depends on three conditions:

  1. There should be a perceived difference or discrepancy between what exists and the ideal or planned situation.
  2. The reason(s) for this difference should be unclear (so that it makes sense to develop research questions).
  3. There should be more than one possible answer to a question or more than one solution to the problem (otherwise further research is unnecessary).

These three conditions can be illustrated through an imaginary example of poor sanitary conditions in a rural kebele.

13.2.1  Clarifying the problem of malaria infection in your community

13.2.3  Poor sanitary conditions: creating a research question