The following paper presents a summary and evaluation of Health Services Research Methods, by Shi (1997). Shi stated that health services research is now a recognized discipline, which merges health-related methods and results from numerous traditional disciplines. For this review, each chapter is summarized and evaluated and a conclusion is presented.
Chapter 1 is titled: Scientific Foundations of Health Services Research. This chapter presents a comprehensive overview of the topic, laying an adequate foundation for the remainder of the book. The nature of scientific inquiry is the first section. The author explains that scientific inquiry has the purpose of creating knowledge and it is based on the assumption that life is logical with distinct patterns of regularity (positivism). This logic forms scientific theory, and empiricism is the method used in scientific inquiry to determine the patterns of regularity. Research reactive effects (Hawthorne effect) may interfere with the study of a particular behavior, and the researcher must control for sources of bias.
The process of theory construction is presented in the second section. The author states that scientific inquiry to verify a theory, takes place after theory construction, which includes six steps of specifying the: topic; assumptions; range of phenomena; major concepts and variables (independent and dependent); propositions, hypotheses, and relationships; and the theory. A formal theory consists of definitions of the concepts and assumptions, and a set of propositions, which logically explain the topic. Theories created from observation rather than deduction, are called grounded theories: proceeding with research without a hypothesis, describing observations, and explaining observations.
Health services research is defined by Shi as the scientific inquiry that produces findings regarding aspects of health services, such as resources, provisions, organizi...