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Saturday, 24 May 2014 14:24

Qualitative Studies in Health Services Research Featured

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Qualitative Studies in Health Services Research

Qualitative studies have not been common in health services research. However, they are gradually becoming popular due to researchers interest in using description to understand a health related phenomena. Qualitative studies in health service research strive to develop concepts that aid in the understanding of a phenomenon. Special emphasis is accorded to meaning, experience and the view of participants involved in the study (Gagliardi, & Dobrow, 2011).  Qualitative research thus emphasizes on finding the meaning that people place on events, processes and structures revolving around their lives.

Similarly, qualitative research enables a researcher to gather data on the participant's perception and assumptions of various health related issues. Data for a qualitative study is thus collected using methods such as observations and interviews.The two common qualitative research approaches are grounded theory and phenomenology. Grounded theory is a qualitative method used to establish a theory based on collected data. Grounded theory has its roots in sociology and functions on the basis that people attach meaning to events through experience and social interaction.  It is the meaning that people attach to their experiences that eventually shape their behavior.

Grounded theory, therefore, strives to develop theories and also modify existing theories depending on the data collected. Phenomenology, on the other hand, focuses on understanding how participants understand the phenomena of experiences they face (Al-Busaidi, 2008). Phenomenology strives to understand the psychology of participants. Phenomenology does not strive to create a theory from collected data, but strives to understand the structures of consciousness as experienced by participants of a research study. Phenomenology emphasizes on the description of the world through the experiences of participants of the study. Researchers cannot, therefore, use external literature as supporting evidence.


Al-Busaidi, Z. (2008). Qualitative research and its uses in healthcare. Sultan Qaboos university medical journal. Vol. 8(1): 11-19

Gagliardi, A. & Dobrow, M. (2011). Paucity of qualitative research in general medical and health services. BMC Health Services Research. 11:268 doi: 10.1186/1472-6963-11-268


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