The Relationship Between HIV Treatment Compliance and Social Support
A longitudinal study is a form of quantitative study that investigates outcomes or risk factors yielding repeated measurements at different intervals (Curtis & Drennan, 2013). The longitudinal studies are most suitable for epidemiological studies, clinical research as well as therapeutic evaluation.
The longitudinal design is based on the assumption that the scores for each of the populations should have a normal distribution. The study design also assumes that the samples have been randomly and independently selected from the target population. Another assumption for the longitudinal study design is sphericity which indicates that the variances for the population scores for two similar conditions should be the same as the variance of any other two conditions (Simoni, Frick, & Huang, 2006).
Strengths and Weaknesses
One of the key strengths of longitudinal studies is the ability to measure the individual changes in outcomes given that individual patterns are observed. One of the threats to the external validity of the longitudinal study is historical occurrences that affect the independent variable which can lead to unwanted effects which significantly impact the outcome of the study (Curtis & Drennan, 2013). The internal threat to validity in longitudinal studies can be attributed to the effects of testing as the participants are most often required to take repeated tests and hence end up learning from the tests.
The longitudinal study offers an effective design for studying the relationship between compliance to HIV treatment and social support. The study design offers a good platform for evaluating the impact of social support on compliance at varying intervals. The assessment of compliance to treatment is a sensitive issue, and hence, it requires a study method that allows for the evaluation of individual participants.
Research Design: Case Study
A case study is a qualitative approach that seeks to explore a phenomenon within the context of occurrence by utilizing multiple data sources (Curtis & Drennan, 2013). The design allows the researcher to explore the issue from a variety of lenses hence providing more facets to the issue under study with the result being increased understanding. The case study design is effective in the exploration of situations where the intervention of interest has no clear set of the outcome.
The case study design assumes that the research provides a holistic perspective on issues being studied. The design also assumes that the research process utilizes an emergent design where the procedures cannot be specified in advance but refined as the research continues (Baxter & Jack, 2008). The design also assumes that the research will take part in the fieldwork and has direct contact with participants and also the issue under study.
Strengths and Weaknesses
One of the strengths of the case study design is that it allows for the collection of a lot of details that would not be obtained from other research designs. The case study allows researchers to be in a position to develop a hypothesis that informs further research in the future. On the other hand, the case studies are faced with a threat to their validity emanating from the fact that some case studies are not scientific (Bordens & Abbott, 2008). The validity of the case studies is also threatened by the fact that it is difficult for the researcher to draw a definite cause and effect relationship.
The case studies are useful to design in the study of how social support impacts compliance to HIV treatment given that the researcher cannot include a huge sample for the research. The researcher is also able to go beyond the bounds of quantitative designs and reveal more information regarding the phenomena under study (Simons, 2009).
Baxter, P., & Jack, S. (2008). Qualitative case study methodology: Study design and implementation for novice researchers. The Qualitative Report, 13(4), 544-559.
Bordens, K., & Abbott, B. (2008). Research design and methods: A process approach. McGraw-Hill: Boston.
Curtis, E., & Drennan, J. (2013). Quantitative health research: Issues and methods. Mc-Graw Hill: Berkshire.
Simoni, J., Frick, P., & Huang, B. (2006). A longitudinal evaluation of a social support model of medication adherence among HIV-Positive men and women on antiretroviral therapy. Health Psychology, 25(1), 74-81.
Simons, H. (2009). Case study research in practice. SAGE: London.