Whilst there are increasing public expectations in Wales for the provision of Welsh language services in health and social care, the evidence also suggests that unless researchers take full account of the language diversity of their sample populations and respond positively to the language needs or preferences of their participants, there is potential for bias within research that may compromise the validity of findings and impede the development of new evidence for policy and practice. LLAIS can advise researchers on ways of embedding language awareness in their work to strengthen the rigour of research studies.
Enhancing Welsh language awareness in research
Given the demography of the Welsh language in Wales and the current legislative and strategic drive to promote bilingualism and equity of language provision across the public sector, it is imperative that language awareness is embedded as an integral aspect of research governance. Figure 1 offers a flow chart for enhancing language awareness in research by giving due consideration to the Welsh language at key stages of the research process, such as:
- Ensuring appropriate sampling approaches
- Accurate measurement procedures
- Effective data collection measures
- Quality translations
- Adequate analytical approaches.
In adopting this approach, health and social care research in Wales can truly reflect the bilingual diversity of the population and provide the evidence base for best practice and policy that meets the needs of service users.