For Immediate Release
Contact: Media Relations, (202) 777-2509

New Book Explores Effective Research Methods in Identifying Health Issues for Aging Americans

Improving Aging and Public Health Research: Qualitative and Mixed Methods

Editors: Leslie Curry, PhD, MPH, Renée Shield, PhD and Terrie Wetle, PhD

Washington, D.C., November 28, 2006 – As the number of Americans ages 65 and older rises, researchers seek ways to better design, conduct and publish scientifically sound research on the nation’s aging population.

Qualitative research, such as focus groups, interviews and observations, is instrumental in the fields of gerontology and public health in identifying health disparities among older Americans. The best methods for conducting qualitative studies, including developing research questions, strategies for design and analysis, concerns of cultural literacy, issues of validity and credibility, and effective writing for scientific journals are explored in Improving Aging and Public Health Research: Qualitative and Mixed Methods, published by the American Public Health Association (APHA).

The book’s co-editors are: Leslie Curry, Ph.D., an associate professor at Center on Aging at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine; Renée Shield, Ph.D., a clinical associate professor of community health at the Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research at Brown University in Providence, R.I.; and Terrie Wetle, associate dean of medicine for public health and public policy at Brown University. Together with their contributors, they consider how to pursue issues of public health and aging by exploring the value of qualitative research in its own right and in combination with other information-gathering methods, including quantitative approaches based on large data sets and statistical measurements.

Improving Aging and Public Health Research: Qualitative and Mixed Methods provides insights from a group of highly diverse research scientists who offer guidance about how to conceive, conduct and publish research and gain a deeper understanding of people’s beliefs, behaviors and health conditions.

“The complexity of [our world] does not reduce to numbers easily, and deep understanding requires the use of qualitative methods to help illuminate what the numbers mean,” said Shield, one of the book’s editors.

Among the book’s tools for researchers is advice on how to determine the right methods for the research question; write compelling grant applications; choose and use software for data analysis; and transform findings into publications in leading peer reviewed journals.

“This book combines theoretical contexts and practical considerations in a refreshingly useful manner,” wrote Charles F. Longino, Jr., PhD, president of the Gerontological Society of America and professor of sociology and public health sciences at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. “At the same time, [the book] candidly describes the challenges and pitfalls experienced in qualitative and mixed methods research. It teaches how to put a human face on research findings.”

Ordering Information: Published by the American Public Health Association, 2006, ISBN: 0-87553-051-6, 202 pages, cost is $29 ($20 for APHA members), plus shipping and handling. To order, call toll free (888) 320-APHA; fax (888) 361-APHA; e-mail or visit APHA’s Web site:

Please send your request for a review copy on letterhead to APHA Publications Marketing, 800 I Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001-3710, or fax to (202) 777-2531.

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The American Public Health Association is the oldest organization of public health professionals in the world and the foremost publisher of public health-related books and periodicals promoting high scientific standards, action programs and public policy for good health. More information is available at