Research Methods e-Festival: What is CHARM?

In this week’s blog Faith Frost talks about a recent presentation she was involved with last month. Over to Faith…


It was the 2021 Research Methods e-Festival last month, organised by NCRM and methods@manchester. We were pleased to be able to present the fantastic work that the CHARM team had been doing, showcase some of our initial findings from the study, and answer some interesting questions!

Dr Isabelle Latham took the lead in presenting as the senior researcher on the project, whilst I was on hand to respond to the comments pane. Izzie gave a great overview of why the CHARM project was needed and what the CHARM framework is.

Opening slide from the presentation giving the title, CHARM logo and presenter names

Izzie also told people about the model we have been using in the research, called the ‘Action Researcher-in-residence Model’ which consists of 4 continuous steps.

  1. Plan and prepare
  2. Make things happen
  3. Study watch and listen
  4. Reflect and think
Slide from the presentation showing why the CHARM project was needed.

With the support of the researchers on the project (Izzie and myself) care homes have been guided through the Action Research Cycle to consult, design, deliver and report the findings of their chosen research studies.

Izzie presented some of the findings from the project, starting off with impact. She discussed how all care homes have successfully completed at least one research study, and some have completed two, despite the difficult impact that COVID has had. Staff reported that involvement in CHARM had built their skills, confidence and relationships and participating care homes reported that CHARM has helped to build their reputation and confidence overall as a home.

Izzie then went through the exciting research projects that the care homes have developed. You can find out more about the projects here.

Now to my favourite part of the presentation. We got to hear from care home staff and provider leads themselves about their involvement in the CHARM project through a short, engaging film. We feel it really brought the presentation to life and hearing from people other than ourselves all of the time is far more interesting!

Finally, Izzie went over some of the barriers and facilitators that have been depicted from the project.

Facilitators included: the researcher-in-residence approach – a friendly (but persistent!) face to help care homes with the projects who had understanding of care homes, the flexibility of the action research model, the value of research to the care homes involved and the importance of a strong organisational lead.

Barriers included: COVID! (un-surprisingly) although the effects of COVID appeared to only magnify the usual barriers to research in care homes. Another barrier was the reluctance from care homes to consult with people in the home and the reliance on virtual contact.

Oh, and our favourite barrier – the care homes had too many ideas to manage!!

Keep an eye out for the CHARM Framework step-by-step guide for conducting research in care homes manual, that will be free to download in due course.

Well done to all our care homes involved, it has been a fantastic project.


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