Research Methods, Data Collection, and Reproductive Health Indicators Print E-mail
Researchers interested in investigating the determinants and consequence of sexual and reproductive health and behavior at the community or district levels or in undertaking research on preventative and curative reproductive health services or on the policy, legal or social aspects of reproductive health will benefit from the manual, Social Science Methods for Research on Reproductive Health (1999). Chapters address questions of research design, methods of data collection and analysis, practical aspects of research planning and implementation, and ethical issues. Of special interest are the examples of structured questionnaires and personal dairies to elicit sensitive information (e.g. on sexual behavior), semi-structured interviews and informal discussions, focus group discussions, participant observation, used of simulated clients, and other approaches. This is a readable and highly applicable guide to all aspects of the research process.

Research Methods, Data Collection, and Reproductive Health Indicators

The collection of indicators for monitoring and evaluating sexual and reproductive health program inputs and health outcomes is an essential component of the global agenda, including that of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Together with UNICEF and UNFPA, WHO convened a technical consultation of experts in December 1999 to develop a set of benchmark indicators on reproductive and sexual health for monitoring the implementation of the 1994 ICPD Programme of Action. The result, Reproductive Health Indicators for Global Monitoring: Report of the Second Interagency Meeting (2000) presents an assessment of 17 core indicators relating to fertility and family planning, maternal mortality and access to essential basic and comprehensive antenatal and delivery care, perinatal mortality and low birthweight, unsafe abortion, anemia in pregnant women, and the prevalence of (and knowledge of how to prevent) STIs and HIV, including a discussion of data sources. This manual is intended for researchers and policy makers for data collection and monitoring. Additional research strategies are suggested for defining key indicators in under-represented areas such as violence against women, adolescent reproductive and sexual health, and male involvement. The Department of Reproductive Health and Research (RHR) has compiled available data on these and other indicators at the national level that can be accessed on the website with Internet Explorer version 5 or later versions. Additional guidelines to research design and analysis and to data collection are noted in each of the topical areas discussed above and in the Appendix below.

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