Chronic Kidney Disease is the state of the human organism when kidneys fail to fulfill their actual functions of eliminating the blood waste, which results in various health complications that range from mild weaknesses to kidney failures, commas, and deaths (Bash, Coresh, Köttgen, Parekh, Fulop, Wang, and Astor, 2009; Family Doctor, 2009). The seriousness of the chronic kidney disease is emphasized by the consequences the very disease has on the human health and by the complications it can cause. Thus, according to Stone (2008), the majority of the chronic kidney disease patients having the end-stage of the disease die of cardiovascular disease as the complication of the chronic kidney disease than from the disease as such (Stone, 2008, p. 1; NIH, 2009). Therefore, epidemiology deals with the chronic kidney disease as one of the most serious threats to the human heath today. Special epidemiological strategy is needed to approach and treat the chronic kidney disease in the modern human society.
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Accordingly, the objective of the current research is to put more clarity to the issue of chronic kidney disease, find out more information about this disease, its causes and consequences, ways of data collection, and especially ways of effective chronic kidney disease treatment (Patterson, 2001). In more detail, the objectives of the current research paper include to:
- carry out the literature review of the previous research works on the topic of epidemiology of chronic kidney disease;
- analyze the findings and establish the directions of the research that still demand improvements;
- Develop the research instrument to effectively study the topic of chronic kidney disease development and treatment;
- Design the effective method of data collection for the purposes of the current research;
- Outline the research sample, its size and limitations;
- Choose between the potential data gathering techniques that include direct interviews, telephone interviews, surveys, and questionnaire analyses;
- Develop the effective strategy to research the development of chronic kidney disease and the working ways of its treatment.
The objectives are outlined in accordance with the established and widely accepted scholarly principles of epidemiology research formulated by Cwikel (2006), Fos and Fine (2000), and Patterson (2001) who argue that the epidemiology research should see its goals to work on their achievement. The problem in epidemiology should be disseminated to the smallest units to make its solution the easiest one. As Cwikel (2006), epidemiological research needs clarity to be successful, and the above presented research objective present this clarity to the whole further work.
According to Fos and Fine (2000) and Patterson (2001), epidemiology is the science designed to help people fight the most serious diseases of the time, and the presented research objectives allow dealing with one of those diseases, i. e. the chronic kidney disease. The objectives presented allow clear structuring of the focus of the research. As Cwikel (2006) argues, setting the research objectives and designing methodology of the research is more than the half of the success of the whole research work intended. Therefore, having the clear objectives of the research, the researcher can now look for the most fitting instruments and methods of data collection and analysis that will allow for the highest degree of objectivity of research and standardization of its data.
Dealing with epidemiology research, it is also necessary, according to Cwikel (2006) and Patterson (2001), to have the clearly realized research instruments that would allow the researcher to follow the outlined research objectives and achieve the goals of the research, i. e. to study the chronic kidney disease, its occurrence factors, and ways to treat the disease. The research instruments range depending on the type of the research, its topic, and objectives. They can include literature reviews, questionnaires, various types of interviews, surveys of opinions, statistical surveys, etc. The methodology of the research also has its impact on the choice of the instrument because as Cwikel (2006) argues, the qualitative and quantitative research methodologies use different approaches to epidemiological data, and the instruments used in either of the methodologies differ as well.
Accordingly, the research of the chronic kidney disease will benefit most of all from the use of direct, face-to-face, interviews with the participant of the research, i. e. chronic kidney disease patients. The reasons for such a choice include the narrow focus of the research and its originally people-oriented character. This means that the aim of the research is to help people fight the chronic kidney disease and the research has to deal with people suffering from it to understand its nature better (Bash, Coresh, Köttgen, Parekh, Fulop, Wang, and Astor, 2009). Therefore, the face-to-face interview instrument will be used as the main tool of data collection for this research n chronic kidney disease.
Another reason for such a choice is the combination of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies used for this research project. As it has already been mentioned above, qualitative and quantitative methods are two dominant research methodologies currently in use. However, the research of epidemiology trends requires the combination of both methods as the work with people requires statistical data to be collected and analyzed. This requires the use of quantitative methodology. Moreover, adequate conclusions are to be made from the figure obtained, and this fact involves the qualitative method of research that, according to Cwikel (2006) and Bash, Coresh, Köttgen, Parekh, Fulop, Wang, and Astor (2009), allows making conclusions about the underlying reasons for the phenomena under consideration.
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Drawing from the above presented considerations, the research strategy of the study of chronic kidney disease will encompass the following stages:
- Defining the approximate topic for the research in the area of chronic kidney disease;
- Carrying out the comprehensive literature review in order to study the previous works on the topic and narrowing the topic of the current research to the existing gaps in the chronic kidney disease research;
- Analyzing the literature review data and structuring the research under consideration;
- Developing the clear structure of the research including the research objectives, questions, methodology, and instruments for data collection and analysis;
- Designing and testing the data collection instrument for the research;
- Outlining the research sampling strategy, sample size, and sample limitations;
- Conducting the preliminary face-to-face interviews with the selected research respondents and making the necessary improvements, if any, to the research design based on the results of the preliminary interviews;
- Conducting the main interview process with the selected research respondents;
- Analysis of the obtained interview results;
- Making conclusions from the research results, defining the research limitations and the directions for the further research work in the epidemiology area on the whole, and chronic kidney disease in particular.
The above mentioned steps of the research strategy will provide the environment for what Cwikel (2006), Fos and Fine (2000), and Patterson (2001) refer to as data objectivity and standardization. In other words, the research of the chronic kidney disease, although limited in sample, will allow making conclusions applicable to the wider populations of people suffering from the same disease. For example, if the research finds the relation between anemia incidences and chronic kidney disease incidences, it will allow making the standardized assumption that anemia is either a regular complication or cause of the chronic kidney disease (Singh, Szczech, Tang, Barnhart, Sapp, Wolfson, and Reddan, 2009). Needless to say, such standardization will be possible at the assumption level only, and further research will be needed to turn it into the scholarly proven fact by more numerous and wider in scope research findings.
Thus, the epidemiology research on chronic kidney disease is a rather complicated process that requires a clear structure and understanding of the main research goals and means of their achievement. The structure of the epidemiology research should include the statement of research objective, clear outline of the research instruments for data collection and analysis, and the comprehensive research strategy that encompasses all stages beginning from stating the problem and ending up with making conclusions and determining the further research directions in the topic of chronic kidney disease. Only such a comprehensive approach, as scholars argue, can provide for the success of research in the area of epidemiology and chronic kidney disease.
Bash, L. D., Coresh, J., Köttgen, A., Parekh, R. S., Fulop, T., Wang, Y. and Astor, B. C. (2009). Defining Incident Chronic Kidney Disease in the Research Setting. American Journal of Epidemiology, 170(4):414-424
Cwikel, J. (2006). Social epidemiology: strategies for public health activism. Columbia University Press.
Family Doctor. (2009). What is Chronic Kidney Disease? Web.
Fos, P. and Fine D.J. (2000). Designing Healthcare for Populations: Applied Epidemiology in healthcare administration, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.
NIH. (2009). Chronic Kidney Disease and Kidney Failure. National Institute of Health Fact Sheet.
Patterson, R. (ed) (2001). Changing patient behavior: improving outcomes in health and disease management. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Singh, A. K., Szczech, L., Tang, K. L., Barnhart, H., Sapp, S., Wolfson, M., and Reddan, D. (2009). Correction of Anemia with Epoetin Alfa in Chronic Kidney Disease. The New England Journal of Medicine, 355(20): 2085 – 2098.
Stone, A. (2008). Annual Report Targets Chronic Kidney Disease in the United States. NIH News, 1 – 2.