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Research - Community-based Research

WHFS (Women's Health & Family Services) consults local people using different qualitative and quantitative methods.  We regularly undertake formal and informal research and listening projects, for ourselves and our partners, to better understand local communities’ issues and to identify how sustainable services can be developed which are appropriate and effective. 

Some specific research methods and resources we are able to deploy are:

  • Trained bilingual community researchers who have experience of working alongside academic departments and research agencies to carry out focus groups, one-to-one interviews, surveys etc.  Languages spoken include Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, Somali and Vietnamese.
     
  • Community Research Intelligence: WHFS captures and includes the experience, knowledge and expertise we have acquired from working with the four largest ethnic communities in Tower Hamlets.  This valuable information informs our work with our partners, including health providers, health commissioners, policy makers and academic researchers.
     
  • Participatory Appraisal Techniques (PA):  WHFS makes regular use of this innovative qualitative research method that engages communities, irrespective of language, literacy or education levels, and empowers them to “tell their own stories”.  PA values people as experts on their own lives and uses accessible, interactive tools to engage them and encourage them to speak freely from their experience.  PA enables health commissioners, providers and researchers to hear directly from local communities about the issues that affect their lives, and to work collectively towards positive changes that are owned by local people.

    PA has been successfully used by WHFS to gain valuable insight into the barriers that communities experience in accessing Cancer Screening and Diabetes services in Tower Hamlets.