Qualitative research: A consumer's guide

Richard M. Frankel, Kelly Devers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Qualitative research is best characterized as a family of approaches whose goal is understanding the lived experience of persons who share time, space and culture. Although they are often judged as a single entity, the approaches actually vary in their theoretical assumptions and cannons of evidence. Four qualitative research domains that are currently used in studying education for health are reviewed here. They are ethnographic/field work approaches, use of interviews and surveys, audiovisual records, and the study of documents. Characteristics of each domain and brief examples are provided. In addition to introducing the four research domains, we offer some general guidelines on how to be a good consumer of qualitative research. We pose a series of questions about the importance of the research question, study design, and trustworthiness of qualitative research results. In addition, we focus on how research results are presented and discussed. We conclude with the observation that qualitative research approaches are only as good as the questions they set out to illuminate. In the arena of education for health a number of good and important questions remain unaddressed and would benefit by being studied using qualitative research approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-123
Number of pages11
JournalEducation for Health
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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