WR 123, Prof. C. Agatucci
Research Proposal: Final Draft
18 April 2002
1. Research Topic Introduction
(a) The research topic I have chosen for Writing 123 is focused on our mental health system, what services are provided in Bend, and what services are needed. The research question I wish to answer is: Homelessness among the chronically mentally ill is a community problem in Bend as well as elsewhere in the United States: As a community, how can we address this problem? I have chosen this topic partly as a result of my interest developed from my psychology professor last term. She mentioned in class that there are some chronically mentally ill (schizophrenic) people who live in Juniper Park. Additionally, I recently viewed a program on 60 Minutes which profiled a community in Geel, Belgium, that has a unique way to care for the mentally ill in their community. I was intrigued by the total community commitment and support of the mentally ill. In Geel, Belgium, you never see someone sleeping on the street. I wanted to further investigate their system for caring for the mentally ill and see if their methods could be duplicated in other communities, such as in the United States. If some of the methods used in Geel, Belgium, could be used elsewhere, as in Bend, this might have significant implications for the services we can provide in Bend. I feel as a community, we have a responsibility to care for those who are unable to care for themselves. I do not feel it is acceptable to have the chronically mentally ill living in our community parks or on the streets. I think some of our social problems are just accepted as part of living in a community and perhaps they are not addressed as they should be. In my research, I discovered a model program that was started in Long Beach, California, as a result of the frustration and dissatisfaction of family members of mentally ill, as well as professionals and business people who had an interest in improving the mental health system. As a result, the Village Integrated Service Agency in Long Beach, California, has received a growing amount of attention and commendation as a model mental health program. It incorporates a number of innovative approaches that may be valuable in effecting widespread system change.
(b) I believe this is a very appropriate topic for Writing 123. It fits in with the courses I have studied and presents a very real problem in Bend that can be addressed in a research topic. Until I viewed the program that focused on Geel, Belgium, and their unique methods for providing for the mentally ill, I had not considered other community options for addressing the problem of homelessness of the mentally ill. It is a very effective method to view problems from other perspectives to arrive at real solutions that may be helpful and appropriate in our community in dealing with this social problem.
(c) I intend to use the American Psychological Association (APA) documentation system for this research topic. When I consulted our textbook regarding citation formats, I learned that The APA form is a variant of the author-date system of citing sources, used in the field of psychology and often in other behavioral sciences (Hubbuch, 2002).
2.Research Question and Working Hypothesis
(a)My research topic is: Homelessness among the chronically mentally ill is a community problem in Bend as well as elsewhere in the United States: As a community, how can we address this problem?
(b)Working hypothesis: This is a problem not only in Bend, but in large, economically sound communities, as well. It is a problem that must be addressed as a community to have a working, caring system to provide for the mentally ill who are homeless. This involves having a community home to provide for these homeless individuals, having a foster care system that supplements a community home and having people receiving these servicesbe treated with respect, dignity and without labeling or discrimination of any type (CareLink, 2002).
3. Research Strategy Description
(a)What do I need to discover in my research?
In the US you see many homeless people. In Bend we have homelessness. My psychology professor stated there are probably five or six schizophrenic people living in Juniper Park. Our mental health system fails to care for the chronically mentally ill.
Is our mental health system adequate? What services are provided in Bend? Why are the chronically mentally ill homeless? What services are needed in Bend?
There is a different approach for the care of the mentally ill in Geel, Belgium. You never see a person sleeping on the street there. They seem to have a successful way to care for the mentally ill.
How do the people in Geel, Belgium care for the mentally ill? What accounts for the success of their methods? Would this model be transferable to other places, i.e., cities in the United States? Bend? If not, why not?
The Village Integrated Service Agency in Long Beach, California, has received a growing amount of attention and commendation as a model mental health program. It incorporates a number of innovative approaches that may be valuable in effecting widespread system change. Dr. Mark Ragins, who is involved with the Village Integrated Service Agency, visited Geel, Belgium, and observed their system of care for the mentally ill in his process of gaining a worldwide perspective of psychiatric rehabilitation.
What is the Village Integrated Service Agency? How did it get started and why? What is it doing differently and what is successful, not successful? Would this approach work elsewhere? In Bend?
(b) Where will I look for answers?
I used Ebsco Host database for a web search of key terms: mental health; mental illness; psychiatric rehabilitation, Geel, Belgium. I have also searched Google.com. I have found useful journal articles relating to my topic, including an article in the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, Summer 2000, outlining and describing the Denver approach which combines the best rehabilitation models and influences into one system of rehabilitation services. Additionally, I discovered information about The Village Integrated Service Agency in Long Beach, California, which incorporates a number of innovative approaches in care for the mentally ill.
I asked the librarian at the COCC library for sources of information about services provided in Bend. She directed me to the appropriate website and the new Deschutes County Mental Health office located at 2577 NE Courtney in Bend to obtain information on what services are currently available in Bend. I visited the new office in Bend and obtained a pamphlet of information describing the services currently provided.
I have requested two books through interlibrary loan, Introduction to Psychiatric Rehabilitation and The Role of the Family in Psychiatric Rehabilitation, which I hope will offer some valuable insight into how the family and community can integrate care for the mentally ill.
Additionally, I have ordered a transcript of the 60 Minutes program concerning the unique care the community of Geel, Belgium, provides for the mentally ill. Viewing this program provided me with a new awareness and heightened interest to investigate this topic further.
Anthony, W. A. (2001) Vision for Psychiatricrehabilitation Research. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 25, 1. (Journal Article)
Baxter, E. (1997) An Alternative Approach to Recovery-St. Dimpna.
<http://www.mentalhealthconsumers.org/connet/cnn/9711/alternative.htm> [Accessed 4 Apr 2002]. (Article)
Fallot, R. D., Ph.D. (2001) Spirituality and Religion in Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Recovery from Mental Illness. International Review of Psychiatry, 13, 110. (Journal Article)
Hubbuch, S. M. (2002). Writing Research Papers Across the Curriculum. Boston:Heinle & Heinle. (Book)
Principles of Psychiatric Rehabilitation. CareLink [accessed 12 Apr 2002]. (Website)
Ragins, M., MD. History and Overview of the Village. The Village Integrated Service Agency. <http://www.village-isa.org/Ragins%20Papers/Hist.%20&%20Oveview.> [Accessed 4 Apr 2002] (Article)
Ragins, M., MD. (2000) A Personal Worldwide Perspective of Psychiatric Rehabilitation. The Village Integrated Service Agency. <http://www.village-isa.org/Ragins%20Papers/worldwide_perspective.htm> [Accessed 4 Apr 2002]. (Article)
Shern, D. L.; Tsemberis, S.; Anthony, W.; Lovell, A. M.; Richmond, L.; Felton, C. J.; Winarski, J.; Cohen, M. (2000) Serving Street-dwelling Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities: Outcomes of a Psychiatric Rehabilitation Clinical Trial. American Journal of Public Health, 90, 1873. (Journal Article)
Smith, G., (Executive Director). Deschutes County Mental Health. N.p.:n.p., n.d.
[Pamphlet obtained 12 Apr 2002]
Spaniol, L., et al. The Role of the Family in Psychiatric Rehabilitation. (Book requested through interlibrary loan 4/12/02)
Spaniol, L., et al. Introduction to Psychiatric Rehabilitation. (Book requested through interlibrary loan 4/12/02)
© Lucy Burrows, 2002
How to Write a Psychology Research Proposal
By following these steps, you can write a clear and comprehensive research proposal easily!
Deciding on an area.
This needs to be something that interests you. In order to be able to provide a rationale for why your research will be innovative, it’s a good idea to make sure that there is a substantial amount of literature that has already been written in the area and theories to explain it.
How do I do a literature search?
Your college or university will have access to academic databases which will allow you to find the most up to date publications. These include useful scientific databases such as PsychInfo, Ovid and Medline. It might also be useful for you to use Google Scholar to search for articles.
It is often a good idea to think of all the alternative search terms you could use. For example, if you want to find out what literature there is on people over the age of 65 years with depression you could use the following:
- Older adults and mental health difficulties
- Old people with depression and anxiety
- Ageing and mental health
- Age and depression/anxiety
By exploring several different search terms, you can ensure that you have performed a full and wide search of your subject.
Thinking of a research question
The key to thinking of a good research question is reading! By reading and understanding the research area, you will soon begin to identify gaps in the research. These gaps may be areas that have not had much work done on them. So, using the previous example, an area that might be under-researched may be anxiety and depression in older adults living in care homes, for example. Once gaps have been identified, you can perform another literature search to see how much material there is in this area and hopefully you will have a much clearer idea of your question!
What happens after you have thought of a question?
Once you have decided on a question, you will need to start thinking of how to investigate it. You will need to think about the following points:
- What will your method be?
- How many participants will you use?
- What measures will you use?
- What will the inclusion and exclusion criteria be for participants?
- Will the data be analysed using quantitative or qualitative methods?
- Ethical considerations
Having followed these steps you will now be able to write a comprehensive research proposal.
This must include:
- A literature review of the research area.
- Rationale for why this piece of research is needed.
- Method section including participants and measures to be used.
- Consideration of ethical issues.
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