Researching Healthcare Availability For Probation Clients: An Illustration Of Methodological Challenges And Lessons In Surveying Organisations

Published 20/11/2019
Type Article
Author(s) Mark Oldfield
Corresponding Authors Coral Sirdifield, David Denney, Dr Rebecca Marples, Charlie Brooker


This article critically reflects on the methodological approach used in a multi-method study of healthcare provision for probation service clients in England. The study involved gathering data from a range of large criminal justice and health organisations. Drawing on the literature and using learning from this study as an example, we address two central questions which evolved during the research: why was it more difficult to gain access in some organisations than others, and what methodological strategies might best improve engagement with research in the future? We discuss gatekeeping, and the impact of organisational resources, culture, responsibilities, change and objectives on engagement with research. We make recommendations for future methodological approaches to address these challenges, which are relevant to researchers in any discipline trying to engage organisations in research.