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Ways of Studying Religion, Spirituality, and Aging: The Social Scientific Approach

People who work in practice settings with older people may sometimes wonder about the need for doing research. A lot of research is now being conducted and reported in both professional journals and the popular media, and it is important that practitioners understand the research findings being reported. A basic and important question is, will this research make a difference to my practice and to the well being of those I care for? Much of what is reported in the media comes without any detail of how the research was conducted and sometimes the claims of research made in the media are exaggerated. Those who work with older people need to know how to assess this research and to know whether what is being reported has any validity or not; it is vitally important for all professionals who work with older adults to be intelligent consumers of research. To do this, it is necessary to know how research is conducted.