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Qualitative Research – Material for e-learning

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Qualitative Research – Material for e-learning

  1. Overview

Qualitative Research: Reaching the parts other methods cannot reach: an introduction to qualitative methods in health and health services research

Pope C., Mays N. British Medical Journal (1995) 311: 42-45

Outlines the aims and purposes of qualitative research and gives some definitions of terms used within the discipline.

The art and science of clinical knowledge: evidence beyond measures and numbers

Malterud K. The Lancet (2001) 358: 397–400

Discusses the shortcomings of traditional medical research methods and introduces qualitative research methods as an approach to increasing understanding of medicine.
Qualitative research: standards, challenges, and guidelines

Malterud K. The Lancet (2001) 358: 483-488

Discusses how scientific quality can be maintained when qualitative research methods are applied. Discusses standards and challenges when using qualitative research methods and proposes guidelines.
Assessing quality in qualitative research

Mays N., Pope C. British Medical Journal (2000) 320: 50-52

Outlines two views of how qualitative methods might be judged and argues that qualitative research can be assessed according to two broad criteria: validity and relevance.
Analysing qualitative data

Pope C., Ziebland S., Mays N. British Medical Journal (2000) 320: 114-116

Discusses the relationship between analysis and qualitative data. Explores methods of analysis and computer packages designed to aid analysis.
Evolving guidelines for publication of qualitative research studies in psychology and related fields
Elliott R., Fischer C., Rennie D. British Journal of Clinical Psychology (1999) 38: 225-229

Presents a set of guidelines for reviewing qualitative research in the field of psychology. The authors aim to: contribute to legitimising qualitative research; ensure more appropriate and valid reviews of qualitative research; encourage better quality control; and encourage further developments in the approach and method.

A later issue of the journal contained comments on this article. The comments and the response to them can be accessed form the links below:

Against methodolatry: Some comments on Elliott, Fischer, and Rennie

Also against methodolatry: A reply to Reicher

Evaluating Qualitative Research in Social Geography: Establishing 'Rigour' in Interview Analysis

Baxter J., Eyles J. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (1997) 22 (4): 505

Addresses the issue of evaluating the designs and findings of qualitative research in social geography through establishing a set of questions and criteria to be asked by and of such work. The authors conducted a literature search to discover how rigorous qualitative studies in social geography were.

The Debate about Quantitative and Qualitative Research: A Question of Method or Epistemology?
Bryman A. The British Journal of Sociology (1984) 35 (1): 75-92
Discusses the main points of the debate around the characteristics and merits of quantitative and qualitative methodologies. The author questions the relationship between various epistemological positions and their associated techniques of social research.

Interviews and questionnaires as Mixed Methods in Population Geography: The Case of Lone Fathers in Newcastle, Australia
Winchester H. The Professional Geographer (1999) 51(1): 60-67
Study of the experiences of lone fathers in Australia. Qualitative and quantitative methods were used: questionnaires and interviews. The author compares the methods and argues that it is not always necessary to back up qualitative interviews with quantitative.

Qualitative Research: Valuable or Irrelevant?
Barnes C. Disability & Society (1992) 7 (2): 115-124
Evaluates qualitative research methods in relation to the emancipatory research model (for definition see Defines qualitative research, what it is and how it differs from quantitative research. Describes and analyses the author’s experiences of participant observation in a Day Centre for disabled people.

  1. Phenomenology

Phenomenological Research Among Canadian and United States Indigenous Populations: Oral Tradition …
Struthers R., Peden-McAlpine C. Qualitative Health Research (2005) 15 (9): 1264-1276
Discusses phenomenology, particularly phenomenological research among indigenous populations. Discusses how narratives and storytelling can inform changes necessary for health promotion.
Alfred Schutz, phenomenology and research methodology for information behaviour research
Wilson T. The New Review of Information Behaviour Research (2002)
Explores the phenomenological sociology of Alfred Schutz, with particular reference to his concern to understand the social distribution of knowledge in society.

  1. Ethnography

Psychosocial effects of the 2001 UK foot and mouth disease epidemic in a rural population
Mort M., Convery I., Baxter J., Bailey C. British Medical Journal (2005) 331:1234
Describes a large, longitudinal qualitative ethnographic study. Data collection was primarily by means of diary keeping but also in depth interviews. Data analysed by the constant comparison method.

Vocabularies of motive for illicit steroid use among bodybuilders
Monaghan L. Social Science & Medicine (2002) 55: 695-708

This study uses participant observation and in depth interviews. There is a discussion of ethical issues surrounding both these methods.

Usability in the real world: assessing medical information technologies in patients' homes
Kaufman D., Patel V., Hilliman C., Morin P., Pevzner J., Weinstock R., Goland R., Shea S., Starren J. Journal of Biomedical Informatics (2003) 36: 45-60
This research is informed by methods from the ethnography of work and education. In particular, interaction analysis – an interdisciplinary method for the empirical investigation of humans interacting with others and with objects in their environment. Video analysis is carried out.
An ethnography of risk management amongst illicit drug injectors and its implications for the …
Power R., Jones S., Kearns G., Ward J. Sociology of Health and Illness (1996) 18: 86
This study uses the following methods: participant observation, semi-structured interviews using ‘indigenous interviewers, and focus groups. Data analysis is based on the principles of grounded theory.
Family members’ contribution to patients’ care in the intensive care unit: a naturalistic inquiry
Williams C. Nursing in Critical Care (2005) 10 (1): 6-14

This study uses unstructured observation and video recording with reflective video analysis as part of a Naturalistic inquiry.

Integrating ethnography into the requirements engineering process
ISommerville I., Rodden T., Sawyer P., Bentley R., M … - Requirements Engineering, 1993., Proceedings of IEEE International Symposium Jan 1993: 165-173

Gives an overview of a project in which an ethnographic analysis of the activity of air traffic control was used to inform development of a system to provide real-time information to air-traffic controllers. Discusses the issues of inter-disciplinary working.

4. Grounded theory
Analysis of the decision-making process leading to appendectomy: A grounded theory study
Larsson G., Weibull H., Wilde Larsson B. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology (2004) 45 (5): 449

A qualitative interview study in the grounded theory tradition, using constant comparative methodology to analyse data.

There are no wrong answers: an investigation into the assessment of candidates’ responses to essay …
O’Donovan N. Oxford Review of Education (2005) 31 (3) 395-422
This study uses a method akin to the constant comparative method of grounded theory generation processes to explore the idea of examination validity. Question papers and candidates’ scripts are analysed. A methodology for future quality assurance in essay-based examinations is derived.

Chinese seniors' perspectives on end-of-life decisions
Bowman K., Singer P. Social Science and Medicine (2001) 53: 455–464
This study involved interviews with 40 elderly Chinese people living in Canada. It explored end-of-life decision making in relation to the interviewee’s cultural and religious beliefs.

Parents’conceptions of social dangers to children in the urban environment
Blakely K. Children’s Environments (1994) 11 (1): 20-35
This study involves Interviews with parents of 9-11 year olds about the social dangers in their neighbourhoods. The analysis is based on grounded theory.

  1. Observations and Interviews

General practitioner management of intimate partner abuse and the whole family: qualitative study
Taft A., Broom D., Legge D. British Medical Journal (2004) 328: 618

Researchers nterviewed General Practitioners in Australia who had been on a continuing education course and followed them up every two months for up to a year. From these interviews, more than 50 patient or family narratives were abstracted. The interviews were analysed and practices compared with those recommended.

The 1999 international emergency humanitarian evacuation of the Kosovars to Canada: A qualitative study of service providers' perspectives at the international, national and local levels
Fowler N., Redwood-Campbell L., Molinaro E., Howard M., Kaczorowski J., Jafarpour M., Robinson S. International Journal for Equity in Health (2005) 4:1

A qualitative case study design using key informant interviews was used. Nominated sampling was used to identify 17 individuals involved in the organization and delivery of health and settlement. Key themes were identified and recommendations made to provide a framework for the development of policy to guide response to future humanitarian emergencies

The Utility of In-Depth Interviews for Studying the Meaning of Environmental Risk
Baxter J., Eyles J. The Professional Geographer (1999) 51 (2): 307-320
This study explores the utility of in-depth interviews for understanding how individuals and societies construct the risks from environmental hazards. There is a discussion of rigour in qualitative research.

Articulating Otherness? White rural residents talk about Gypsy-Travellers Holloway S. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (2005) 30 (3): 351-367
A study of people living in Appleby, Cumbria and their attitudes to Gypsy-Travellers attending the annual Appleby New Fair. Semi-structured interviews with selected groups of residents are used.

Motivation and Barriers to Participation In Virtual Knowledge-Sharing Communities Of Practice
Ardichvilli A., Vaughn P., Wentling T. Motivation and barriers to participation in virtual knowledge – sharing communities of practice. Journal of Knowledge Management (2003) 7(1): 64-77
Qualitative case study design analyzing three ‘communities of practice’ (informal entities bound together by the connections individual members have with one another and by shared problems or areas of interest). Semi-structured interviews were carried out. Interview data was analysed iteratively. Documentation was also analysed.

  1. Designing qualitative studies

Rigour and qualitative research.
Mays N., Pope C. British Medical Journal (1995) 311 109-112
Describes strategies available within qualitative research to ensure rigour. Sampling, analysis, validity, bias and data collection are discussed. The article identifies key questions to ask when assessing the quality of quantitative research.

Methodological aspects of collecting data from children: lessons from three research projects
Mauthner M. Children & Society (1997) 11: 16

Considers some methodological aspects of collecting data from children. Three studies are described, their methods examined and some conclusions drawn about those methods.

The social geography of AIDS and hepatitis risk: qualitative approaches for assessing local differences in sterile-syringe access among injection drug users
Singer M., Stopka T., Siano C., Springer K., Barton G., Khoshood K., Gorry de Puga A., Heimer R. American Journal of Public Health (2000) 90: 1049-1056
Describes six qualitative methods examining access to sterile syringes among injection drug users in three cities. Each method’s value is examined in terms of the findings.

Asking questions on sexual behaviour. . methods from the social sciences
Pickering H. Health Policy and Planning (1988) 3 (3): 237-244
Describes different methods of collecting data on sexual behaviour in the community. Group discussions, individual interviews and diaries of sexual contacts were used and the methods compared.

Qualitative methods and prescribing research
Stevenson F., Britten N., Barry C., Barber N., Bradley C. Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 2000 25: 317-324
Describes the range of research questions that could be addressed using qualitative methods. Reviews some methodological issues of particular relevance for qualitative research.

  1. Narrative and storytelling

Narrative approach to assessing interactions between society, community, and person

Salzer M. Journal of Community Psychology(1999) 26 (6): 569 - 580

This study explores the use of narrative as a method for examining interactions between society, community and individuals. 100 psychology undergraduates wrote stories (narratives) about residents of ‘public housing projects’ and these were analysed thematically. In a separate part of the study public housing residents ‘stories’ were collected by a researcher who had developed a relationship with them over three years. The differences and similarities between the two sets of ‘stories’ are discussed.

Talk That Talk: Storytelling and Analysis Rooted in African American Oral Tradition -

Banks-Wallace JA Qualitative Health Research (2002) 12 (3): 410-426

Discusses story telling and story taking. Outlines a comprehensive analytic process for gathering and interpreting stories rooted in an African American tradition.

Stories, Background Knowledge and Themes: Problems in the Analysis of Life History Narrative
Agar M. American Ethnologist (1980) 7(2): 223-239
Life history data as discourse are examined through the perspectives of psychology, linguistics and anthropology.
8. Miscellaneous - Framework Analysis

Social Marketing Applications and Transportation Demand Management An Information. Instrument for the 21st Century
McGovern E. Journal of Public Transportation (2005) 8 (5): 1-24
This study uses focus groups and diaries cataloguing families’ travel journeys and the influence of social marketing material on them. Framework analysis is used.

Institutionalized paternalism? Stakeholders' views on public access to genetic testing

Carter S., Taylor D., Bates I. Journal of Health Services Research & Policy (2006) 11(3): 155-161.

This study involved interviewing 16 individuals who had contributed to a Human Genetics Commission consultation document. Qualitative responses were analysed using the ‘framework’ method.


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