Qualitative research methods


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Cochrane Colloquium 2008 - Plenary 2

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Qualitative research methods

  1. 1. Qualitative Research Methods ”Patients and Research” 16th Cochrane Colloquium Helle Ploug Hansen Institute of Public Health Health, man & Society University of Southern Denmark 1
  2. 2. Disposition • Secundary and primary research • Syntheses of qualitative studies • Qualitative methods 2
  3. 3. Technology is nothing in itself • Health technology always mediates risks, knowledge, kinship, life and death, power and autonomy • Health technology embodies current societal values, norms and intentions which are basically relational 3
  4. 4. Secundary and primary research It is important that the initiation of primary research about patient aspects in an HTA only is considered relevant if the knowledge that can be gained from a prior review of the literature (secundary research) proves inadequate 4
  5. 5. Why do secondary research? Because researchers do not need to: • establish new expensive research that is not necessary • intrude in for example severe sick patients life 5
  6. 6. Advice and suggestions in relation to literature reviews Literature assessment of qualitative studies • It is important to decide who can/should assess the results based on qualitative methods • It is important to reflect on the range and validity of the results based on qualitative methods 6
  7. 7. Syntheses of qualitative studies • Can contribute to the decision-makers having the best possible evidence-based foundation to assess, for instance, core patient aspects in relation to a given HTA • Can be used to assess whether there is a need for primary research • Can be used to gain new insight into relevant patient or organizational aspects • Can be used to make generalisations • Requires in-depth insight into the methods prior to use in connection with HTA 7
  8. 8. Definition of Syntheses of qualitative studies Some kind of combinations of qualiative methods to construct adequate interpretive explanations from multiple studies 8
  9. 9. Why using SQR? • Because it enables researchers to meet the needs of policy-makers and practitioners, who need to benefit from the range of available evidence 9
  10. 10. The hierarchy between quality and quantity • quantity is a kind of quality but quality is not a kind of quantity • qualitative and quantitative methods are not each others opposites • they rely epistemologically on different ‘trusted ideas’ 10
  11. 11. Qualitative methods • Qualitative methods will often be appropriate for exploring patient and organisational aspects in an HTA 11
  12. 12. Qualitative methods The main qualitative methods for generating data are: • In-depth individual interviews • Focus group discussions and interviews • Participant observation • Fieldwork 12
  13. 13. Qualitative methods • Qualitative methods are especially useful in order to address patients’ views in relation to: - knowledge - values - emotions - ethics - beliefs - social interactions - cultural practices - effect from the patient’s point of view 13
  14. 14. Important • knowledge can never be free from interpretation and contexts • it is not possible to establish facts without values • data are generated not collected but generated • science can never quarantee the truth of its conclusions 14
  15. 15. Conclusion – No facts without value – No reason without emotion – No knowledge without experience 15
  16. 16. Conclusion • It is important that qualitative research strategies become more integrated in future health technology assessments • There is a need for developing joint studies for instance with anthropologists and sociologists about patient- and citizen aspects. 16
  17. 17. Thank you for listening 17