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Table 1 How the research questions will be addressed by data collection methods and analysis

From: Understanding Hospital Admissions Close to the End of Life (ACE) Study

Research questions Data collection Data analysis
1. How are decisions that result in admissions at end of life made in practice? • Qualitative interviews with the decision-makers in the community and hospital and with next of kin of 48 patients will be used to develop descriptive case-studies of patient experiences • Thematic analysis of interview data
• Quantitative analysis of questionnaire
2. What do patients, carers and practitioners think can or should be different in decision-making around admissions to hospital close to the end of life? • Vignette-based focus groups with patients/carers and commissioners/managers to explore their perspectives on acute admissions at end of life • Thematic analysis of interview data
• Quantitative analysis of questionnaire
• Qualitative vignette-style questionnaires with professionals to validate and quantify findings from the interview phase • Thematic analysis of patient focus groups
3. What is current policy around place of death and hospital admissions close to the end of life? • Review and evaluation of literature and policy against the empirical findings • Thematic analysis of literature and policy
• Thematic analysis of commissioner/manager focus groups
4. How do current policy and practice compare? • Review and evaluation of literature and policy against the empirical findings • Critical comparison of thematic analysis of empirical data and thematic analysis of policy to help identify overlaps, gaps, contradictions and tensions.
5. What are the implications for policy and practice? • Review and evaluation of literature and policy against the empirical findings • Application of social marketing framework to help identify “actionable insights” for policy and practice.