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Introduction

Carrying out surveys in the medical profession is both demanding and time conscious. In addition, it is quite different from the other researches that involve the public. This is because the medical professionals have tight work schedules to respond to the surveys questions. According to Flanigan, McFarlane & Cook (2008), “Physicians have demanding work schedules, their time is valuable, and participating in a survey represents a high opportunity cost to them,” (p.4136). What is more is that the medical professionals attract a series of surveys that aim at streamlining the profession. Hence, their participation is uncertain. Furthermore, it would be very difficult to conduct survey involving them because of the opportunity cost mentioned herein. 

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The medical practitioners also have receptionists and gatekeepers who control unwarranted intrusions that would compromise their time of service. The changing nature of the medical practice and the continual need to do further research on the sectors warrants the development of survey methods that would consider these diverse needs. Myriad researchers and pharmaceutical firms need time to carry out surveys with them. Moreover, they professional are engaged in joint practices, managed care institutions, and employee management, which further complicates the already tight time schedules.

The current technological transformations have created other avenues through which the medical professionals can be engaged in these significant researches. Nonetheless, the physicians receive many medical junk mails. Montauk (2000) observes that one physician noted that he received an approximated 122kg of medical junk mails in a year’s period (Flanigan et al. 2008). The fact that they receive medical junk mails would mean that they have to filter their emails to come from only relevant sources. This may curtail the intrusion of other researchers into their much-needed attention. The online surveys therefore, do not offer an immediate solution in conducting medical surveys. Of the surveys carried out through emails, the medical professionals only respond to 10% of the surveys if compared to the responses of the public.

The topic of surveys may be uninteresting to the physicians and as such, they may not provide useful research information especially when the details are time consuming and intrusive. With the challenges observed above, it is not a guarantee that a researcher will find information from the medical professionals. The alternative is to use monetary incentives or physical persuasion to lure them to participation in the studies. The challenges can be addressed by developing software that will limit the aforementioned challenges and engage the medical professional in studies. This research therefore proposes the development of Generic Medical Survey System (GMSS) to encourage their participation. The project also aims at bringing on board, the patients to give their opinions on a platform that is both appealing specific, and generates appropriate questionnaires.  

Aim and Objectives of the Project

Aim

This project aims at developing a project that will boost the conduction of medical surveys by minimizing the challenging the above section. The GMSS project will function by setting up medical surveys that will necessitate input of a questionnaire specification, generation of questionnaires from both the medical practitioners and patients.

Objectives

Hence the objectives of this project are:

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  1. To examine the shortfalls of general surveys methods in medical research
  2. To develop software that will minimize the challenges of general research survey methods
  3. To enhance the reception of survey information from the medical staffs and patients

Background Review

Survey in Medical Research

Survey research is the examination  of attitudes, beliefs, and behavior of individuals in their settings through questionnaires given out through  the mail, handouts, personal and, telephone interviews, and the Internet. Such research studies vary from one question poll to large-scale studies. In contrast to survey research study, a survey is basically a data collection tool for analysing survey research study. Pinsonneault and Kraemer (1993) defined a survey as a “means for gathering information about the characteristics, actions, or opinions of a large group of people” (p. 77). Surveys can also be used to assess needs, evaluate demand, and examine impact. The term survey instrument is often used to distinguish the survey tool from the survey research that it is designed to support.

Survey research is one of the most vital areas of measurement in medical research. Survey research covers any measurement process that involves asking questions of respondents. Survey research study  is used to quantitatively examine specific features of a given population. The features which are normally analyzed  variables which  are gathered  from people and are, therefore, subjective. The other critical feature of  survey research is that its findings  findings can be generalized back to the population.

In a survey research study, independent and dependent variables are normally applied to describe the scope of the study, and can never  be explicitly manipulated by the researcher. Before carrying out  the survey study, the researcher should choose a model that identifies the expected relationships among the variables. The survey is then designed and used  to test any  model against observations of the medical phenomena.

Surveys make it possible to  obtain information from a big  sample of the population. They are also well placed to collect demographic data which are critical in medical analysis. Surveys are normally  inclusive when it comes  and number of variables that can be analyzed, they require less investment to design and administer, and are relatively easy for making generalizations. Surveys can bring out critical  information about attitudes that are otherwise difficult to measure using observational techniques. It is prudent to note, however, that surveys only give out estimates for the actual population, not exact measurements.     

Importance of Survey in Medical Research

Survey in medical research design is normally used since it enables a researcher to illustrate the true picture of the particular situation within a research context. In addition, surveys present major advantages for qualitative research. It not only helps a researcher to gain deep insights on the views and perceptions of the participants, but also empowers the researchers to keep hold on to the true meanings of events as constructed in the study process.     

Web-Based Surveys

As mentioned in the introductory section, the advances in technology have made the collection of survey data quite easy in the past two decades. It is now easy to conduct web-based surveys at low costs and within short time spells. Web-based surveys have quick turnaround and can be finished within a span of one hour or one day. The survey questions can be sent through emails and other relevant avenues in the online platform.

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Advantage of using web-based survey

Web-based interviews attract the young professionals more that it attract the older generation. This is attributed to the ease with which the young people embrace technology; the older people are in most cases, sceptical about technology use. Email responses according to McMahon, Iwamoto, Massoudi & Yusuf (2003) are less likely to have incomplete answers if compared to researches conducted through fax and postal addresses.

Disadvantage of using web-based survey

It should however be noted that email sampling error exists given that medical practitioners do not publish their email addresses and phone numbers (Braithwaite, Emery, De Lusigman & Sutton 2003).       

Current systems review

The most ideal surveys in the medical practice can be found in the SurveyMonkey website. The site provides an avenue for physicians and the entire healthcare professionals in the medical industry to get involved in the medical surveys in a bid to improve the experience of the medical practice (SurveyMonkey 1999-2012).

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