3.1 Research design

The previous chapter considered some of the relevant literature in relation to the ageing population, alongside other contributory factors that challenge the delivery of public services in Scotland today as well as identifying a gap. This chapter explains the research design that has been used to investigate the demographic context within which social care services are being delivered today and what factors are effecting their ability to deliver services designed to prevent increased demand from the ageing population with a Scottish local authority. The remainder of this chapter is structured as follows: (i) an explanation of the research design; (ii) a discussion of case study methodology; (iii) consideration of the philosophical assumptions that underpin this research; and (iv) the methods used to collect data.

This study has sought to investigate the impact of the ageing population on a local authority’s care at home service. The provision of service is a multi-faceted and requires many individuals, processes and procedures to plan, co-ordinate and deliver the care and support. Consequently, this is a large area of enquiry involving multiple factors. Therefore, this researcher has adopted a case study approach to look at one area of the care at home service’s operation – the enablement service – to understand better the current trends of activity, but also to develop explanations for these trends. The study adopted a mixed method approach to gathering and analysing data. The predominance of data gathered was quantitative through the collation and analysis of pre-existing data at national and local level. New datasets were also compiled using specifically designed measurement tools to obtain more precise information on service activity. The analysis of the quantitative data was contextualised by analysis of qualitative data gathered from interviews carried out with Social Care Organisers (SCO) The interview data was pre-existing data that had been captured by the researcher as part of a service improvement programme early in 2013. The researcher sought retrospective permission to allow further data analysis for the purposes of this project.