Online Guide: Everything a Qualitative Health Researcher Needs to Know

Comprehensive guide for designing, writing, reviewing, and reporting qualitative research

Researchers at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) created an online guide for researchers employing qualitative methods in health care research.

The site, Using Qualitative Methods in Healthcare Research: A Comprehensive Guide for Designing, Writing, Reviewing and Reporting Qualitative Research, is designed to inform visitors to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) website.

Key Conclusions: On the website, the researchers present a number of key conclusions, including:

  • Qualitative research emerges from a variety of research traditions or disciplines including:
    • Grounded theory.
    • Phenomenology.
    • Case studies.
    • Ethnography.
  • Efforts to develop a specific set of criteria that constitute good qualitative research are probably misguided. Because qualitative research has roots in various traditions, it is inadvisable to specify a single set of criteria.
  • Qualitative health care research has assimilated its methods and analytical techniques into those used in quantitative studies. This is partly because funding agencies such as the National Institutes of Health give priority to quantitative approaches.

Key Recommendations: Methods of data collection and methods of analysis are linked. Therefore:

  • Researchers should ensure that their methods of analysis flow logically from the method by which they collect data. For example, researchers studying conversations often rely on verbatim recordings that then suggest particular types of analyses such as special transcriptions.
  • Proposal or report reviewers should use evaluative criteria that match the method and analytic approach the author uses or proposes to use.