New Strategies for Research in Clinical Practice: A focus on self–harm.

Warner, Sam and Spandler, Helen orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-0970-5141 (2012) New Strategies for Research in Clinical Practice: A focus on self–harm. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 9 (1). pp. 13-26. ISSN 1478-0887

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This article suggests new ways of approaching clinical-based research in an era of evidence-based practice. Using the example of self-harm, we identify three distinct problems with current dominant approaches to research in this area. These include insufficient clarity about target issues, an overreliance on predetermined outcomes which prioritise behavioural measures (such as self-harm cessation) and an undue focus on treatment techniques. We argue that clinical research requires flexible, user-centred and practice-based methods, informed by a focus on principles instead of techniques. Therefore, we outline key practice-based principles that we argue need to be embedded within clinical research strategies. We then demonstrate how traditional behavioural approaches to research can be enriched with more qualitative cognitive and emotionally based data. We conclude that such strategies provide thickened, meaningful and context-specific research which is more relevant for service commissioners, clinicians and service users.

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