- Type of Project.
This classification that is adopted contextually for the projects, can be applied to all the planned activities that are developed in the field of basic or clinical-epidemiological medicine, and in public health.
The following types of project are considered:
- Intervention projects
- Evaluation projects
- Technology development projects
- Research projects and. Action research projects.
The boundaries between these types of project are not totally clear nor are they clearly defined, and consequently, there are usually procedures, methodologies, technical resources and common paths in the realization of any of them. There are, however, distinctive features that are exposed below.
- The intervention project
The basic content of the description and foundation of an intervention project is an action that is exercised on a strictly determined object. It is impossible to list the repertoire of possible interventions, but it is worth inserting and commenting some examples.
A program for the prevention of breast cancer or any other chronic disease, the implementation of the design or redesign of the curriculum of a subject, the creation of a structure for administration, planning, control or execution of certain functions, the preparation of an epidemiological surveillance system, an educational program to stimulate and promote healthy behaviors and lifestyles, the introduction of changes in any system of service provision, the application of new techniques, means, methods or teaching styles, or new techniques, methods or means of diagnosis are, all of them, activities that should be the object of intervention projects.
Examples of this type of research can be found in the book: “Psychological intervention in cardiovascular diseases”, in which the results obtained in the modification of coping styles in patients with acute myocardial infarction in the process of cardiovascular rehabilitation are exposed integral, in the “Hermanos Ameijeiras” Surgical Clinical Hospital of Havana City, Cuba. (Hernández, 2003)
In the book “Psychology of Health. Fundamentals and applications “, you can find examples of different fields of application of Health Psychology that have led to different forms of intervention in certain types of patients with chronic diseases: cardiovascular, renal, asthma, cancer, treatment of chronic pain, to name a few examples. (Hernández and Grau, 2005)
Any of these interventions should be eventually evaluated. The technical, operational and methodological aspects of said evaluation must appear in the project, but they do not constitute its essential aspect. Drafting the intervention project involves, at least, describing in detail what the intervention consists of and to whom it is addressed, to substantiate it, justify it, expose its
background, explain how to execute it, and describe what its expected benefits are. These elements make up the WHAT, the WHY, the WHAT and the HOW, that constitute the common components to any type of project.
- The evaluation project
Evaluation projects are oriented towards knowledge always related to attributes of efficacy, quality, efficiency or impact.
Although the difference is not always clear, in the content of this knowledge lies precisely what distinguishes them from the scientific knowledge that characterizes research projects. Other
The characteristic of the evaluation project is the time that elapses between the moment in which the objective existence of the object of evaluation is materialized and the moment in which the act of evaluation itself begins.
The interventions are always, in the short or long term, subject to evaluation. A program of prenatal diagnosis, the effects of an immunization program, a change in the curriculum, a medical technology, the efficiency levels of an administrative structure or a program of provision of
services, competition and professional performance, the acceptance of a new product that is launched on the market.
Pharmacological surveillance is usually carried out as part of the last phase of a clinical trial to evaluate the undesirable effects of a drug. The so-called current state studies, so well known in the field of systems analysis, are true evaluation companies.
Evaluation can not be conceived in the abstract. It always has an object, which is often a prior intervention, in relation to which, it is not the content, but its evaluation, which is essential for the purposes of the project. Often, on the contrary, the intervention supposes a previous evaluation, but this evaluation is
subordinated to the purposes of the intervention that would then constitute the basic object of the project.
The technological development project
The hallmark of this type of project is that it is aimed at obtaining tangible products: a diagnostic means, a vaccine preparation, a device for carrying out intestinal biopsies, a software for the teaching of morphological sciences, a model for the performance prediction academic, a curriculum, models, experimental models or teaching aids.
Obtaining the product is accompanied, almost inevitably, by the evaluation of its properties. If it is a diagnostic means evaluated ‘in vivo’, its sensitivity, its specificity, its predictive value, its cost-benefit attributes, its harmlessness, its risks or its possible adverse effects; If it is a vaccine preparation, its immunogenicity, its toxic effects, its reactogenicity, the persistence of antibodies; if it is a predictive model, its adjustment, its predictive capacity, the relevance of the predictors that compose it, etc. The importance or relative weight that is attributed in the project to the obtaining of the product or to the evaluation of its attributes, determines if it is a development project, a research project, or even, although less frequently, an evaluation project, according to the deadlines and the type of design.
- The research project
The research project is the most general of all, its greater generality derives from the fact that very often, research includes the production or obtaining of something, its evaluation, and its use as part of an intervention.
The feature that typifies the research project is the existence of a cognitive intention that prevails over any other purpose in the project. To know means to arrive at true or more complete propositions about an object of study and / or to generate, confirm, refute or verify hypotheses in relation to said object.
Regardless of the formal requirements imposed by the funding agencies or the institutions that examine and approve projects, and the type of project, the WHAT, WHY, WHY, and WHAT are listed as constant components in the texts in which it materializes all project.
The action research
Strictly speaking, action research does not define a new type of project, but a work modality that generates knowledge, that produces changes and that, in the end, is compatible with the other types of project: an intervention, an evaluation and a Research can be developed under a classical or conventional modality and also under the modality of action research.
The action-research activity originated in the context of the educational sciences and has been gaining ground in other spheres. As its name suggests, in it coexist in close bond the cognitive desire and the purpose of getting
Objective and measurable effects
If the classic investigation supposes a disturbing action of the reality with the intention to observe certain effects, the investigation-action takes place within and as part of the habitual conditions of the reality that is object of study.
One of its most typical features is its participatory nature: its actors are both subjects and objects of study. There are, by exception, objectives and goals given a priori, but it is characteristic of action research that a large part of the goals and objectives are generated as part of the process in which it is gestated.
Knowing the context, evaluating it and transforming it are part of the same company whose success is measured, first, in terms of the progress made by the transforming action and the better conscience or commitment of its protagonists, and secondly, in terms of better knowledge of the reality.
While the WHAT, WHY and WHY can be defined in an action research project, the AS is only in its general contours, because the forms of action are configured as part of a dynamic process in which each goal achieved contributes to the definition of subsequent steps.