Home » Uncategorized » Melbourne winters, a paper and a DCE

Melbourne winters, a paper and a DCE

Such is the size of Australia that if you don’t like the weather you just travel to a better climate without a passport. In Melbourne we are approaching the end of the dark depths of winter, with recent temperatures maxing at 10C, with a “feels like” factor of 5C. I don’t quite get the “feels like” measure, but I understand it takes in a few criteria, including heat loss from the body. Nevertheless, its been cold, and several lucky colleagues have escaped to warmer climes up north. Spring is only days away!

Happy to provide the link of my second paper from my first study which describes agreement levels of HAI identification. This is the third paper published since commencing the PhD, and I’m aiming to do at least two, possibly three more before i finish…having said that, it is getting to the pointy end  with now less than 12 months to go (probably 8 months to final seminar, 10 months to thesis examination). Nevertheless, to get there I need to keep ticking off the short term goals, and there’s still plenty of those ahead.

Starting with the write up of my Discrete Choice Experiment. Discrete choice experiments (DCE) are a quantitative attribute based survey method, used to elicit preferences for healthcare products, interventions, services, policies or programs. My application of them in the infection prevention and control setting is novel. Essentially it involved presenting participants two hypothetical surveillance programs and asking them to determine which one they would prefer i.e believe to be most beneficial to their infection prevention program. Sounds simple enough, and really the administration of the survey was probably the easiest part. The hard part of a DCE is deciding what factors will make up your choices. I reviewed the literature and conducted semi structured interviews with international and Australian leaders in surveillance programs. From the data, I identified 5 key attributes of a HAI surveillance program. Then under the supervision of experts from Flinders University in SA, I constructed two blocks of 13 choice questions that would make up the DCE. Together with some attitudinal questions and some basic demographic data, it was all delicately placed into an online survey tool. I purposively selected and contacted leaders in infection prevention and control in Australia and asked them to complete the DCE. The survey was open for five weeks. The high response rate has provided me with confidence that results are meaningful. In early August I spent another few days with my colleagues at Flinders who advised me on the data analysis. And now, I am writing it all up. This data will also be presented at the ACIPC Conference 2015 in November in Hobart.

In the meantime I continue to explore the rich data I collected in the semi structured interviews with the aid of my colleagues who are much more in tune with qualitative data analysis than I am…if I learn nothing during this PhD, I will at least be better equipped to undertake qualitative research! (I did learn today that apparently the ‘proper’ way to say research is not ‘REsearch’ as we tend to say, but rather ‘reSEARCH‘!)

All the while my default is working on my literature review for my thesis, a never ending – always amending beast, and of course thinking about how I will tie all this work up into one cohesive document…!


I cant finish this update without reference to a recent brush with 15 minutes of fame. Recently our dog, Hugo, was struck by two trains receiving nasty leg wounds, a blinding eye injury, and unknown head injuries. The decision was made to treat conservatively, and after two months he has had the last of his dressings, and is getting around ok with modified front legs and one eye. The local newspaper got wind of the story, and within a 24 hour period (whilst I was away doing my DCE stats) Hugo and the family became famous for a day. Online news, two TV news channels, and even a talk show…..

Online news story here

and TV news pics below!

Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 12.43.07 Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 12.48.51 Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 12.50.38

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