Finn, Vincent (2002) Methodological issues and dilemmas in cardiac health research. In: The University of Huddersfield Narrative & Memory Research Group Second Annual Conference, Saturday April 20th 2002, Huddersfield, UK. (Unpublished)

This study was undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of an existing four- week, interdisciplinary, cardiac rehabilitation programme. The purpose of the rehabilitation programme was to increase cardiac efficiency by physiological training and to modify risk factors for coronary heart disease by patient education on a sample of patients who experienced either a myocardial infarction (MI) or cardiac surgery.

A triangulated methodological approach was utilised whereby narrative data was obtained using six interviews to ascertain the patient's understanding and experience of the programme. This multi-method approach, despite different philosophical traditions, proved to yield an illuminating evaluation of the programme from the patient's perspective. This multi-method approach served to place the study within a real life context dealing with issues, dilemmas and the problems of real people who suffer cardiac events. The overall results of the quantitative element of the study suggested patient improvements in cardio-respiratory fitness, musculo-skeletal fitness and quality of life indices as a result of the rehabilitation programme. These results were complemented by the qualitative components of the study.

It is, thus, recommended to utilise a multi-method approach in cardiac health research to capture the multi-dimensional nature of this field of practice and it gives a rich-real-life context to evaluation studies.

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