VIDEO: HEAL Research Committee – Building and Using Conceptual Frameworks for Research, Dr Cathy Zimmerman

Cathy Zimmerman, PhD, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, is internationally known in the global anti-trafficking field as a rigorous and principled researcher.

The goal of this HEAL Research Committee discussion is to help frame how we should critically consider all investigations.

In this session, we discuss the use of conceptual frameworks in research by drawing on the paper: Human trafficking and health: Conceptual frameworks to inform policy, intervention and research by Zimmerman C, Watts C, Hossain M, (2011) in Social Science & Medicine.

A conceptual framework is a critical starting point for conducting a piece of research. A conceptual framework is a written or visual presentation that “…explains either graphically or in narrative form, the main things to be studied – the key factors, concepts or variables and the presumed relationship among them” (Miles and Huberman, 1994, P18). The selected article highlights how researchers and decision-makers working to address human trafficking can benefit from a theoretical approach that conceptualizes trafficking and health as a multi-staged process of cumulative harm. The paper further suggests that to address a health risk such as trafficking, which spans geographical boundaries and involves multiple sectors, including immigration, law enforcement, labour, social and health services, interventions must be coordinated between nations and across sectors.

[Video available at link above.]

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