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Critical perspectives on ageing societies$
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Miriam Bernard and Thomas Scharf

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781861348906

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861348906.001.0001

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Revisiting The Last Refuge: present-day methodological challenges1

Revisiting The Last Refuge: present-day methodological challenges1

(p.89) Seven Revisiting The Last Refuge: present-day methodological challenges1
Critical perspectives on ageing societies

Julia Johnson

Sheena Rolph

Randall Smith

Policy Press

This chapter provides a fascinating insight into some of the methodological challenges associated with revisiting Peter Townsend's (1962) classic study of residential care: The Last Refuge. The chapter discusses the methodological issues related to designing a comparative longitudinal study of residential care provision for older people and draws attention to the benefits and challenges associated with using archived qualitative data. It aims to find out what happened to the 173 homes Townsend visited: to explore how many of them have survived as care homes and what they are like now in comparison with what they were like in the late 1950s. In addition to the practical challenges that tracing the homes present, the discussion also highlight contrasts as well as continuities between the research instruments used then and now, the nature of the data then and now and the ethical issues attendant on such research.

Keywords:   Peter Townsend, residential care, older people, care homes, research instruments

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