Research methods of inquiry.

Academic Emergency Medicine

PubMedID: 16968685

Rodgers J, Foushee R, Terndrup TE, Gaddis GM. Research methods of inquiry. Acad Emerg Med. 2006;13(11):1183-92.
Incidents of significant consequence that create surge may require special research methods to provide reliable, generalizable results. This report was constructed through a process of literature review, expert panel discussion at the journal's consensus conference, and iterative development. Traditional clinical research methods that are well accepted in medicine are exceptionally difficult to use for surge incidents because the incidents are very difficult to reliably predict, the consequences vary widely, human behaviors are heterogeneous in response to incidents, and temporal conditions prioritize limited resources to response, rather than data collection. Current literature on surge research methods has found some degree of reliability and generalizability in case-control, postincident survey methods, and ethnographical designs. Novel methods that show promise for studying surge include carefully validated simulation experiments and survey methods that produce validated results from representative populations. Methodologists and research scientists should consider quasi-experimental designs and case-control studies in areas with recurrent high-consequence incidents (e.g., earthquakes and hurricanes). Specialists that need to be well represented in areas of research include emergency physicians and critical care physicians, simulation engineers, cost economists, sociobehavioral methodologists, and others.