Print Print RSS

NERI Announces NIH Launch of Online Resource on Behavioral and Social Science Research Methods

NIH launches online resource on behavioral and social science research methods

A Web-based interactive anthology will provide psychologists, economists, anthropologists, sociologists and other scientists with the latest research methods and tools to address emerging challenges in public health, such as the obesity epidemic and the rise of chronic diseases such as heart disease. The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health collaborated with New England Research Institutes to create the free resource, called e-Source.

Because behavioral and social scientists hail from widely varying disciplines from political science to social work research, there was a need for a central resource for current, high quality behavioral and social science research methods. With contributions from international experts, this anthology provides authoritative answers to methodological questions and sets quality standards for the research community.

The goal of the program is to demonstrate the potential of behavioral and social science research, focusing on applying research findings to public health activities and the potential to enhance biomedical research. It is also a useful training resource for biological scientists, providing them with a basic foundation for collaborations with behavioral and social scientists.

“The behavioral and social sciences research community has long needed an easily accessible, low-cost central resource for standardized methods,” said Dr. Robert M. Kaplan, director of OBSSR.

Behavioral and social science has broad appeal and impact, and the program was developed to reach a wide audience of researchers, within the NIH, nationally and internationally. The Web-based interactive collection consists of 20 interactive chapters with new features including a discussion forum and enhanced note-taking capabilities. The twenty chapters cover a range of topics, but are accessible to all users, including those with limited familiarity of concepts such as how to conduct a qualitative analysis. The concepts are supported with interactive exercises and a full set of references linked to abstracts in Pubmed, a library of citations for scientific journals.

The program includes chapters under five major categories relevant to behavioral and social science. “Setting the Scene” introduces major concepts in design and planning of social and behavioral science research. “Describing How” addresses methodologies used to explain how something occurs (for instance, learning how a disease is distributed in a population by conducting a survey or an observational study). “Explaining Why” provides guidance on qualitative methods appropriate for describing why something occurs. “What Works” explores research methods that can evaluate whether one treatment is better than another and whether there are cost differences (for example, a brand drug versus a generic medication). “Emerging Issues” addresses challenges in behavioral and social science research.

Several features engage the user and promote sharing, including a discussion board, a notes feature to save content and share it with others, and a function which allows the user to print a page or a chapter as a PDF. Unlike a printed textbook, the site has been developed with the expectation that it will provide a foundation of methods, but also evolve as new issues emerge. Future topics may include the effects of living in a particular neighborhood, the impact of differences in language and lifestyles, and the science of writing questions.

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR)
opened officially on July 1, 1995. The U.S. Congress established the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) in the Office of the Director, NIH, in recognition of the key role that behavioral and social factors often play in illness and health. The OBSSR mission is to stimulate behavioral and social sciences research throughout NIH and to integrate these improving our understanding, treatment, and prevention of disease. For more information, please visit

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs visit

Please visit e-Source at:

Read the press release at OBSSR

Marceau, L., McKinlay, J. B., Shackelton, R., & Link, C. (Epub ahead of print). The relative contribution of patient, provider and organizational influences to the appropriate diagnosis and management of diabetes mellitus. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice.

Siegrist, J., Shackelton, R., Link, C., Marceau, L., von dem Knesebeck, O., McKinlay, J. (2010). Work stress of primary care physicians in the US, UK and German health care system. Social Science and Medicine, 71(2), 298-304.

Von dem Knesebeck, O., Bonte, M., Siegrist, J., Marceau, L., Link, C., & McKinlay, J. (2010). Diagnosis and therapy of depression in the elderly--influence of patient and physician characteristics. Psychother Psychosom Med Psychol, 60(3-4), 98-103.

Konrad, T. R., Link, C. L., Shackelton, R. J., Marceau, L. D., von dem Knesebeck, O., Siegrist, J., et al. (2010). It's about time: Physicians' perceptions of time constraints in primary care medical practice in three national healthcare systems. Medical Care, 48(2), 95-100.

Von dem Knesebeck, O., Gerstenberger, E., Link, C., Marceau, L., Roland, M., Campbell, S., et al. (2010). Differences in the diagnosis and management of type 2 diabetes in 3 countries (US, UK, and Germany): Results from a factorial experiment. Medical Care, 48(4), 321-326.

Grant, R. W., Lutfey, K. E., Gerstenberger, E., Link, C. L., Marceau, L. D., & McKinlay, J. B. (2009). The decision to intensify therapy in patients with type 2 diabetes: results from an experiment using a clinical case vignette. The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 22(5), 513-520.

Maserejian, N. N., Lutfey, K. E., & McKinlay, J. B. (2009). Do physicians attend to base rates? Prevalence data and statistical discrimination in the diagnosis of coronary heart disease. Health Services Research, 44(6), 1933-1949.

Shackelton, R. J., Marceau, L. D., Link, C. L., & McKinlay, J. B. (2009). The intended and unintended consequences of clinical guidelines. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 15(6), 1035-1042.

Shackelton, R., Link, C., Marceau, L., & McKinlay, J. (2009). Does the culture of a medical practice affect the clinical management of diabetes by primary care providers? Journal of Health Services Research and Policy, 14(2), 96-103.

Jackson, C.B., Botelho, E.M., Welch, L.C., Joseph J., & Tennstedt, S.L. (2012). Talking With Others About Stigmatized Health Conditions: Implications for Managing Symptoms. Qualitative Health Research, Epub ahead of print.

Link, C.L., Stern, T.A., Piccolo, R.S., Marceau, L.D., Arber, S., Adams, A., Siegrist, J., von dem Knesebeck, O., McKinlay, J.B. (2011). Diagnosis and Management of Depression in 3 Countries: Results From a Clinical Vignette Factorial Experiment. The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders, 13(5), e1-e7.

Lutfey, K.E., Campbell, S.M., Marceau, L.D., Roland, M.O., McKinlay, J.B. (2012). Influences of organizational features of healthcare settings on clinical decision making: Qualitative results from a cross-national factorial experiment. Health, 16(1), 40-56.

Marceau L, McKinlay J, Shackelton, R, Link C. (2011). The relative contribution of patient, provider and organizational influences to the appropriate diagnosis and management of diabetes mellitus. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 17(6),1122-8.

McKinlay, J.B., Marceau, L.D., Piccolo, R.J. (2012). Do doctors contribute to the social patterning of disease? The case of race/ethnic disparities in diabetes mellitus. Medical Care Research and Review, 69(2),176-93.

McKinlay J.B., & Marceau, L.D. (2011). New wine in an old bottle: does alienation provide an explanation of the origins of physician discontent? International Journal of Health Services, 41(2), 301-35.

Oka, M., Link, C.L., Kawachi, I. (2011). Disparities in the prevalence of obesity in Boston: results from the Boston Area Community Health (BACH) survey. Public Health Reports, 126(5), 700-7.

Shackelton-Piccolo, R., McKinlay, J.B., Marceau, L.D., Goroll, A.H., Link, C.L. (2011). Differences between internists and family practitioners in the diagnosis and management of the same patient with coronary heart disease. Medical Care Research and Review, 68(6), 650-66.

Welch, L.C., Lutfey, K.E., Gerstenberger, E., Grace, M. (2012). Gendered uncertainty and variation in physicians' decisions for coronary heart disease: the double-edged sword of "atypical symptoms". Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 53(3), 313-28.

Welch, L.C., Botelho, E.M., Joseph, J.J., Tennstedt, S.L. (2012). A qualitative inquiry of patient-reported outcomes: the case of lower urinary tract symptoms. Nursing Research, 61(4), 283-90.

Welch, L.C., Botelho, E.M., Tennstedt, S.L. (2011). Race and ethnic differences in health beliefs about lower urinary tract symptoms. Nursing Research, 60(3), 165-72.

McKinlay, J.B. & Marceau, L.D. (2012). From cottage industry to a dominant mode of primary care: stages in the diffusion of a health care innovation (retail clinics). Social Science & Medicine, 75(6), 1134-41.

Heretic's Corner
10/4/2011 - Posted by NERI Upstream
For example, how useful is it to encourage households in poverty (experiencing food insecurity) to consume more costly “healthful” diets (lean meats, whole grains and fresh vegetables and fruit). The examples are endless............