What Defines Modern Health Education Research?
Like many disciplines, this research has come a long way in the past hundred years. At the turn of the twentieth century, this research was primarily based off of the concept that deadly diseases were the primary priority. With pandemics such as the Spanish Flu and cholera still running rampant, this approach made a great deal of sense. However, times changed as medical science advanced in leaps and bounds; particularly after the Second World War. This research is now highly specialised and it can be broken down into a number of discrete fields. For the sake of brevity, this article will focus on the main tenets of this research, the overall benefits and the direction that these approaches are expected to take.
Primary Research Motivations
First, the motivating factors behind this research are seen to reflect the changing health climate around the world. From a very broad sense, all research is intended to raise the standard of living for individuals. Likewise, the needs of families and communities will need to be understood. The types of systems to define these parameters are quite wide. Some of the most frequent tools used are:
- Case studies
- Longitudinal programmes
- Statistical observations
- The interpretation of emerging threats (such as overpopulation or a lack of available educational resources)
It is often the case that these and other instruments are used in conjunction to provide more verifiable results.
The Inclusion of Emotional and Mental Effects
While past research tended to place its focus on physical causes and their associated effects, modern research also includes the role that the mind plays on mental, physical and emotional health. As above, these effects can be extrapolated out to families, communities and even entire regions (such as mental illness statistics during the recent global financial crisis). This is one of the reasons that health care workers are now at least basically aware of certain conditions such as those discussed within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
The aim of this research is centred around discovering and developing a better understanding of how mental health can affect the quality of life of an individual. In turn, these findings have led to the recognition of the role which the mind plays within many educational systems.
A Global Scale
It should also not be surprising that this research has taken on a global scope. As the world is now more interconnected than ever before, many studies focus on larger groups from across different cultural and geographic locations. Not only can this help to tailor educational platforms to extremely specific needs, but a greater understanding of the similarities between different regions is gained. One of the key concerns of this health education research is to provide those countries which are less developed with the tools and systems necessary to implement a better educational template. This will help in the awareness, control and prevention of many ailments (physical and mental).
The Rising Role of Technology
In the past, much of this research was rather narrow in its in scope and function. This was mainly due to the fact that limited technology was available. Through massive computing networks, high-speed Internet and access to terabytes of data within seconds, much of the research now takes place and is collated within the virtual world.
Now that colleagues can collaborate over vast distances instantaneously, such research has enabled health education to evolve into modern times. Still, the main goal of these methods remains the same. By a better understanding of the impact of this type of education, a better quality of life can be enjoyed by a growing segment of the global population.