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published qualitative research papers

From code to care: Clinician and researcher perspectives on an optimal therapeutic web portal for acute myeloid leukemia

Terese Knoppers, Cassandra E. Haley,  [ ... ], Ma’n H. Zawati

published qualitative research papers

Research on the generative logic and configuration effects of the policy implementation environment in China’s grassroots digital construction: Traceability based on grounded theory and the validation of the csQCA method

Junjie Li, Bangfan Liu

published qualitative research papers

Experiences on health-related quality of life of Jordanian patients living with heart failure: A qualitative study

Ahmad Rajeh Saifan, Haneen Abu Hayeah,  [ ... ], Mohannad Eid AbuRuz

published qualitative research papers

“They must have seen it, you know.” Body talk, extension talk, and action talk: A qualitative study on how palliative care patients and their significant others express experiencing these nonverbal cues

Charlotta Öhrling, Elisabet Sernbo,  [ ... ], Stina Nyblom

published qualitative research papers

Developing feasible and acceptable strategies for integrating the use of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) in gender-affirming care: An implementation study

Rakhshan Kamran, Liam Jackman,  [ ... ], Jeremy Rodrigues

published qualitative research papers

Nursing Staff Presenteeism Scale: Development and psychometric test

Shiao-Pei Hung, Jin-Lain Ming,  [ ... ], Chii Jeng

published qualitative research papers

Research on an innovative design and evaluation method of Chinese tea sets based on GT-AHP-FCE

YanXiao Zhao, Basyarah Hamat,  [ ... ], Leah Ling Li Pang

published qualitative research papers

A qualitative study on the adoption of the new duty hour regulations among medical residents and faculty in Korea

Eui-Ryoung Han, Eun-Kyung Chung

published qualitative research papers

PREHAB FAI- Prehabilitation for patients undergoing arthroscopic hip surgery for Femoroacetabular Impingement Syndrome -Protocol for an assessor blinded randomised controlled feasibility study

Anuj Punnoose, Leica Claydon-Mueller, Alison Rushton, Vikas Khanduja

published qualitative research papers

Nurses’ perception of uncertainty regarding suspected pain in people with dementia: A qualitative descriptive study

Mohammad Rababa, Raghad Tawalbeh, Tala Abu-Zahra

published qualitative research papers

beedi workers in Mysore District, India: A mixed-methods study protocol">Occupational exposures among women beedi workers in Mysore District, India: A mixed-methods study protocol

Priyanka Ravi, Kiranmayee Muralidhar,  [ ... ], Lynn B. Gerald

published qualitative research papers

“It’s what mothers do.” A qualitative exploration of mothers’ experiences of supporting their daughter to be physically active

Carol Brennan, Grainne O’Donoghue,  [ ... ], James Matthews

published qualitative research papers

Key dimensions of women’s and their partners’ experiences of childbirth: A systematic review of reviews of qualitative studies

Yael Benyamini, Amy Delicate,  [ ... ], Claudia Maria Limmer

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Qualitative Research

Qualitative Research

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  • Description
  • Aims and Scope
  • Editorial Board
  • Abstracting / Indexing
  • Submission Guidelines

Qualitative Research  publishes papers with a clear methodological focus. We invite scholarship that has multi-disciplinary appeal, that debates and enlivens qualitative methods, and that pushes at the boundaries of established ways of doing qualitative research. We are interested in papers that are attentive to a wide audience, that are alive to new and diverse ways of thinking about qualitative methods, and that contribute to discussions within the pages of this journal. These discussions can be brought to life through empirical studies and research encounters, but we do not accept papers that focus on reporting the findings from qualitative research studies.

We see our journal as contributing to the community of academics across different fields who use qualitative methods as a way of making sense of the world. We understand methods and methodology as a practice and as a perspective, and welcome contributions that reflect on and critically engage with both aspects.  Qualitative Research is a space where ideas and understandings are used to open up methodological issues for reflection and debate, and we work hard to provide a supportive environment to foster this ethos.

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Manuscript Submission Guidelines: Qualitative Research

This Journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics

Please read the guidelines below then visit the Journal’s submission site http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/qrj  to upload your manuscript. Please note that manuscripts not conforming to these guidelines may be returned.

Only manuscripts of sufficient quality that meet the aims and scope of Qualitative Research will be reviewed.

There are no fees payable to submit or publish in this Journal. Open Access options are available - see section 3.3 below.

As part of the submission process you will be required to warrant that you are submitting your original work, that you have the rights in the work, and that you have obtained and can supply all necessary permissions for the reproduction of any copyright works not owned by you, that you are submitting the work for first publication in the Journal and that it is not being considered for publication elsewhere and has not already been published elsewhere. Please see our guidelines on prior publication and note that the journal may accept submissions of papers that have been posted on pre-print servers; please alert the Editorial Office when submitting (contact details are at the end of these guidelines) and include the DOI for the preprint in the designated field in the manuscript submission system. Authors should not post an updated version of their paper on the preprint server while it is being peer reviewed for possible publication in the journal. If the article is accepted for publication, the author may re-use their work according to the journal's author archiving policy. If your paper is accepted, you must include a link on your preprint to the final version of your paper.

  • What do we publish? 1.1 Aims & Scope 1.2 Article types 1.3 Writing your paper
  • Editorial policies 2.1 Peer review policy 2.2 Authorship 2.3 Acknowledgements 2.4 Funding 2.5 Declaration of conflicting interests 2.6 Research Data
  • Publishing policies 3.1 Publication ethics 3.2 Contributor's publishing agreement 3.3 Open access and author archiving
  • Preparing your manuscript 4.1 Formatting 4.2 Artwork, figures and other graphics 4.3 Supplemental material 4.4 Reference style 4.5 English language editing services
  • Submitting your manuscript 5.1 ORCID 5.2 Information required for completing your submission 5.3 Permissions
  • On acceptance and publication 6.1 Sage Production 6.2 Online First publication 6.3 Access to your published article 6.4 Promoting your article
  • Further information

1. What do we publish?

1.1 Aims & Scope

Qualitative Research publishes papers with a clear methodological focus. We invite scholarship that has multi-disciplinary appeal, that debates and enlivens qualitative methods, and that pushes at the boundaries of established ways of doing qualitative research. We are interested in papers that are attentive to a wide audience, that are alive to new and diverse ways of thinking about qualitative methods, and that contribute to discussions within the pages of this journal. These discussions can be brought to life through empirical studies and research encounters, but we do not accept papers that focus on reporting the findings from qualitative research studies.

We see our journal as contributing to the community of academics across different fields who use qualitative methods as a way of making sense of the world. We understand methods and methodology as a practice and as a perspective, and welcome contributions that reflect on and critically engage with both aspects. QR is a space where ideas and understandings are used to open up methodological issues for reflection and debate, and we work hard to provide a supportive environment to foster this ethos.

1.2 Article Types

Qualitative Research publishes articles, notes and reviews. Most of our submissions follow formal academic publishing guidelines, but we welcome creative and imaginative ways to explore qualitative methods and are open to conversations about the format and presentation of submissions.

We publish articles that are original, critical and creative engagements with qualitative methods. Articles must have a clear methodological focus, and not simply present findings from qualitative studies. They should be between 7,500 and 8,500 words, excluding references. Any articles that fall below or above that range will be returned.

Notes is a new format for short, engaging and imaginative submissions. It offers a more playful space for critical reflection on the craft of qualitative research. Authors are encouraged to experiment with styles of writing, and submissions can take the form of stories, anecdotes, or lessons that impart original methodological insights. Submissions should be between 2,000 and 4,000 words, excluding references.

Reviews are an important contribution to Qualitative Research. We welcome proposals that connect with the aims and the scope of our journal by offering reflective readings of key contributions to methodological debates and discussions in qualitative research. Specifically, we invite traditional book reviews that critically engage with titles and identify connections to wider literature, as well as provide a more descriptive account of content. Here, reviewers should not be afraid to (kindly) consider the significance and clarity of the contribution.

While our book reviews are usually around 800 to 1000 words and tend to focus on a single title, we also welcome longer review essays that explore two or three publications. If you would like to submit a proposal for a book review on the latest contribution or a classic of the genre, please get in touch with the editors, [email protected] . Your proposal should include a statement on why you would like to review the title(s) and how the piece relates to your own interests and expertise.

Beyond the traditional book review, we also invite reviews of events, cultural artifacts, and other dissemination platforms. Here we welcome reviews of relevant conferences and colloquia, podcasts and radio programmes, novels, and documentary series. As with the book review, the word count should be 800 to 1000 words and explicitly relate to how the event/artifact furthers debates in qualitative research. Again, please contact the editors at [email protected] with an outline of your proposal.

Please note that Qualitative Research does not accept unsolicited reviews.

1.3 Writing your paper

The Sage Author Gateway has some general advice and on  how to get published , plus links to further resources. Sage Author Services also offers authors a variety of ways to improve and enhance their article including English language editing, plagiarism detection, and video abstract and infographic preparation.

1.3.1 Make your article discoverable

For information and guidance on how to make your article more discoverable, visit our Gateway page on How to Help Readers Find Your Article Online

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2. Editorial policies

2.1 Peer review policy

Sage does not permit the use of author-suggested (recommended) reviewers at any stage of the submission process, be that through the web-based submission system or other communication. Reviewers should be experts in their fields and should be able to provide an objective assessment of the manuscript. Our policy is that reviewers should not be assigned to a paper if:

•  The reviewer is based at the same institution as any of the co-authors

•  The reviewer is based at the funding body of the paper

•  The author has recommended the reviewer

•  The reviewer has provided a personal (e.g. Gmail/Yahoo/Hotmail) email account and an institutional email account cannot be found after performing a basic Google search (name, department and institution). 

2.2 Authorship

All parties who have made a substantive contribution to the article should be listed as authors. Principal authorship, authorship order, and other publication credits should be based on the relative scientific or professional contributions of the individuals involved, regardless of their status. For any multiple-authored publication that substantially derives from the student’s dissertation or thesis the student should normally be named as first author.

        Please note that AI chatbots, for example ChatGPT, should not be listed as authors. For more information see the policy on Use of ChatGPT and generative AI tools .

2.3 Acknowledgements

All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in an Acknowledgements section. Examples of those who might be acknowledged include a person who provided purely technical help, or a department chair who provided only general support.

2.3.1 Third party submissions

Where an individual who is not listed as an author submits a manuscript on behalf of the author(s), a statement must be included in the Acknowledgements section of the manuscript and in the accompanying cover letter. The statements must:

  • Disclose this type of editorial assistance – including the individual’s name, company and level of input
  • Identify any entities that paid for this assistance
  • Confirm that the listed authors have authorized the submission of their manuscript via third party and approved any statements or declarations, e.g. conflicting interests, funding, etc.

Where appropriate, Sage reserves the right to deny consideration to manuscripts submitted by a third party rather than by the authors themselves .

2.4 Funding

Qualitative Research requires all authors to acknowledge their funding in a consistent fashion under a separate heading.  Please visit the Funding Acknowledgements  page on the Sage Journal Author Gateway to confirm the format of the acknowledgment text in the event of funding, or state that: This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. 

2.5 Declaration of conflicting interests

Qualitative Research encourages authors to include a declaration of any conflicting interests and recommends you review the good practice guidelines on the Sage Journal Author Gateway

2.6 Research Data

At Sage we are committed to facilitating openness, transparency and reproducibility of research. Where relevant, the journal encourages authors to share their research data in a suitable public repository subject to ethical and methodological considerations and where data is included, to add a data accessibility statement in their manuscript file. Authors should also follow data citation principles. For more information please visit the Sage Author Gateway , which includes information about Sage’s partnership with the data repository Figshare. For more information, including FAQs please visit the Sage Research Data policy pages .

We acknowledge this practice is not always relevant or appropriate for ethically sound qualitative inquiry, and so would encourage you to consider the unfolding ethical, legal and moral obligations linked to your research data on a case by case basis.

3. Publishing Policies

3.1 Publication ethics

Sage is committed to upholding the integrity of the academic record. We encourage authors to refer to the Committee on Publication Ethics’ International Standards for Authors  and view the Publication Ethics page on the  Sage Author Gateway .

3.1.1 Plagiarism

Qualitative Research and Sage take issues of copyright infringement, plagiarism or other breaches of best practice in publication very seriously. We seek to protect the rights of our authors and we always investigate claims of plagiarism or misuse of published articles. Equally, we seek to protect the reputation of the journal against malpractice. Submitted articles may be checked with duplication-checking software. Where an article, for example, is found to have plagiarised other work or included third-party copyright material without permission or with insufficient acknowledgement, or where the authorship of the article is contested, we reserve the right to take action including, but not limited to: publishing an erratum or corrigendum (correction); retracting the article; taking up the matter with the head of department or dean of the author's institution and/or relevant academic bodies or societies; or taking appropriate legal action.

3.1.2 Prior publication

If material has been previously published it is not generally acceptable for publication in a Sage journal. However, there are certain circumstances where previously published material can be considered for publication. Please refer to the guidance on the Sage Author Gateway  or if in doubt, contact the Editor at the address given below.

3.2 Contributor's publishing agreement

Before publication, Sage requires the author as the rights holder to sign a Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement. Sage’s Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement is an exclusive licence agreement which means that the author retains copyright in the work but grants Sage the sole and exclusive right and licence to publish for the full legal term of copyright. Exceptions may exist where an assignment of copyright is required or preferred by a proprietor other than Sage. In this case copyright in the work will be assigned from the author to the society. For more information please visit the  Sage Author Gateway

3.3 Open access and author archiving

Qualitative Research offers optional open access publishing via the Sage Choice programme and Open Access agreements, where authors can publish open access either discounted or free of charge depending on the agreement with Sage. Find out if your institution is participating by visiting Open Access Agreements at Sage . For more information on Open Access publishing options at Sage please visit Sage Open Access . For information on funding body compliance, and depositing your article in repositories, please visit Sage’s Author Archiving and Re-Use Guidelines and Publishing Policies .

4. Preparing your manuscript for submission

4.1 Formatting

  • Attach to every submission a letter confirming that all authors have agreed to the submission and that the article is not currently being considered for publication by any other journal.
  • Include a title page with full title and subtitle (if any). For the purposes of blind refereeing, full name of each author with current affiliation and full address/phone/fax/email details plus short biographical note should be supplied on a separate sheet. The editors will not inspect the manuscript until this information is given.
  • Also for the purposes of blind refereeing, authors should replace all self-citations in the text and reference list with anonymous citations, in the style (Author, 2009), etc.
  • Any citation that includes any of the authors should be replaced with (Author A and others, 2003) in the text, and in the reference list at 'Au' put 'Author A and others (2003), details withheld for peer review' followed by Author B and others, if necessary.
  • Abstract of 100-150 words.
  • Up to 10 key words.
  • All authors must provide a full word count for their paper. The minimum word count is 7500 and the maximum is 8500 words excluding all references. Papers under the minimum and over the maximum word count will be unsubmitted.
  • The journal uses notes where necessary. Historical, documentary or archival sources should be cited in endnotes. Discursive endnotes are also allowed. Endnotes are signalled in the text by superscript numbers.
  • References in both the text and in any endnotes should follow Sage Harvard style. References are cited in the text thus: (author, date: page).
  • An alphabetical References section should follow the text (and endnotes, if any) using the Sage Harvard system.
  • All artwork, graphics, line diagrams and photographs are termed 'Figures' and should be referred to as such in the manuscript. They should be numbered consecutively. All figures should have short descriptive captions at the end of the document.
  • Articles must be written in English. Use a clear, readable style, avoiding jargon. If technical terms or acronyms must be included, define them when first used.
  • Non-discriminatory language is mandatory
  • UK or US spellings may be used with '-ize' spellings as given in the Oxford English Dictionary (e.g. organize, recognize).
  • Use single quotation marks with double quotes inside single quotes.
  • Dates should be presented in the form 1 May 2010. Do not use points in abbreviations, contractions or acronyms (e.g. AD, USA, Dr, PhD)
  • Qualitative Research adheres to the Sage Harvard reference style. View the Sage Harvard guidelines to ensure your manuscript conforms to this reference style.
  • If you use EndNote to manage references, you can download the Sage Harvard EndNote output file .

4.2 Artwork, figures and other graphics

Qualitative Research welcomes the inclusion of figures. There is no word count equivalent for figures, but images should be carefully selected and will be reviewed for their quality and suitability. 

For guidance on the preparation of illustrations, pictures and graphs in electronic format, please visit Sage’s Manuscript Submission Guidelines .   

Figures supplied in colour will appear in colour online regardless of whether or not these illustrations are reproduced in colour in the printed version. For specifically requested colour reproduction in print, you will receive information regarding the costs from Sage after receipt of your accepted article.

4.3 Supplemental material

This journal does not currently accept supplemental files.

4.4 Reference style

Qualitative Research adheres to the Sage Harvard reference style. View the Sage Harvard  guidelines to ensure your manuscript conforms to this reference style.

If you use EndNote    to manage references, you can download the  Sage Harvard EndNote output file ..

4.5 English language editing services

Authors seeking assistance with English language editing, translation, or figure and manuscript formatting to fit the journal’s specifications should consider using Sage Language Services. Visit Sage Language Services  on our Journal Author Gateway for further information.

5. Submitting your manuscript

Qualitative Research is hosted on Sage Track, a web based online submission and peer review system powered by ScholarOne™ Manuscripts. Visit http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/qrj to login and submit your article online.

IMPORTANT: Please check whether you already have an account in the system before trying to create a new one. If you have reviewed or authored for the journal in the past year it is likely that you will have had an account created.  For further guidance on submitting your manuscript online please visit ScholarOne Online Help .

As part of our commitment to ensuring an ethical, transparent and fair peer review process Sage is a supporting member of ORCID, the Open Researcher and Contributor ID . ORCID provides a unique and persistent digital identifier that distinguishes researchers from every other researcher, even those who share the same name, and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, supports automated linkages between researchers and their professional activities, ensuring that their work is recognized. 

The collection of ORCID IDs from corresponding authors is now part of the submission process of this journal. If you already have an ORCID ID you will be asked to associate that to your submission during the online submission process. We also strongly encourage all co-authors to link their ORCID ID to their accounts in our online peer review platforms. It takes seconds to do: click the link when prompted, sign into your ORCID account and our systems are automatically updated. Your ORCID ID will become part of your accepted publication’s metadata, making your work attributable to you and only you. Your ORCID ID is published with your article so that fellow researchers reading your work can link to your ORCID profile and from there link to your other publications.

If you do not already have an ORCID ID please follow this link to create one or visit our ORCID homepage to learn more.

5.2 Information required for completing your submission

You will be asked to provide contact details and academic affiliations for all co-authors via the submission system and identify who is to be the corresponding author. These details must match what appears on your manuscript. The affiliation listed in the manuscript should be the institution where the research was conducted. If an author has moved to a new institution since completing the research, the new affiliation can be included in a manuscript note at the end of the paper. At this stage please ensure you have included all the required statements and declarations and uploaded any additional supplementary files (including reporting guidelines where relevant).

5.3 Permissions

Please also ensure that you have obtained any necessary permission from copyright holders for reproducing any illustrations, tables, figures or lengthy quotations previously published elsewhere. For further information including guidance on fair dealing for criticism and review, please see the Copyright and Permissions page on the  Sage Author Gateway .

6. On acceptance and publication

6.1 Sage Production

Your Sage Production Editor will keep you informed as to your article’s progress throughout the production process. Proofs will be made available to the corresponding author via our editing portal Sage Edit or by email, and corrections should be made directly or notified to us promptly. Authors are reminded to check their proofs carefully to confirm that all author information, including names, affiliations, sequence and contact details are correct, and that Funding and Conflict of Interest statements, if any, are accurate.

6.2 Online First publication

Online First allows final articles (completed and approved articles awaiting assignment to a future issue) to be published online prior to their inclusion in a journal issue, which significantly reduces the lead time between submission and publication. Visit the Sage Journals help page  for more details, including how to cite Online First articles.

6.3 Access to your published article

Sage provides authors with online access to their final article.

6.4 Promoting your article

Publication is not the end of the process! You can help disseminate your paper and ensure it is as widely read and cited as possible. The Sage Author Gateway has numerous resources to help you promote your work. Visit the Promote Your Article  page on the Gateway for tips and advice. 

7. Further information

Any correspondence, queries or additional requests for information on the manuscript submission process should be sent to the Qualitative Research editorial office. Please email: [email protected]

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Qualitative Research Journal

Issue(s) available: 59 – From Volume: 6 Issue: 1 , to Volume: 24 Issue: 2

Cover of Qualitative Research Journal

  • Issue 2 2024 When intercultural communication meets translation studies: divergent experiences in qualitative inquiries
  • Issue 1 2024 Methodological entanglements – public pedagogy research
  • Issue 5 2023
  • Issue 4 2023
  • Issue 3 2023
  • Issue 2 2023
  • Issue 1 2023
  • Issue 4 2022
  • Issue 3 2022
  • Issue 2 2022
  • Issue 1 2022 Critically Exploring Co-production
  • Issue 4 2021
  • Issue 3 2021
  • Issue 2 2021
  • Issue 1 2021
  • Issue 4 2020 Research and Methodology in times of Crisis and Emergency
  • Issue 3 2020 The Practice of Qualitative Research in Migration Studies: Ethical Issues as a Methodological Challenge
  • Issue 2 2020
  • Issue 1 2020
  • Issue 4 2019 Creative approaches to researching further, higher and adult education
  • Issue 3 2019
  • Issue 2 2019
  • Issue 1 2019 Journeys in and through sound
  • Issue 4 2018
  • Issue 3 2018
  • Issue 2 2018 Revisiting ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’: 30 years later
  • Issue 1 2018
  • Issue 4 2017
  • Issue 3 2017 Bordering, exclusions and necropolitics
  • Issue 2 2017
  • Issue 1 2017
  • Issue 4 2016
  • Issue 3 2016 Auto-, duo- and collaborative- ethnographies:
  • Issue 2 2016
  • Issue 1 2016
  • Issue 4 2015 Art practice as methodological innovation
  • Issue 3 2015
  • Issue 2 2015 Sub-prime scholarship
  • Issue 1 2015
  • Issue 3 2014
  • Issue 2 2014
  • Issue 1 2014 Approaches to Researching Masculinities
  • Issue 3 2013
  • Issue 2 2013 Selected papers from the 2012 Association of Qualitative ResearchDiscourse, Power and Resistance Conference
  • Issue 1 2013
  • Issue 2 2012
  • Issue 1 2012
  • Issue 2 2011
  • Issue 1 2011
  • Issue 2 2010
  • Issue 1 2010
  • Issue 2 2009
  • Issue 1 2009
  • Issue 2 2008
  • Issue 1 2008
  • Issue 2 2007
  • Issue 1 2007
  • Issue 2 2006
  • Issue 1 2006

Outside the field, inside the home: lessons learned from adapting qualitative research strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic

This collaborative paper presents three case studies on four scholars' experiences with remote data collection. The authors highlight the challenges and strengths of online…

Incorporating pragmatism in a behaviour change-led climate adaptation project: a collaborative reflection

This article argues the value of integrating pragmatism in applying behavioural science to complex challenges. We describe a behaviour change-led knowledge co-production process…

Harnessing the potential of translanguaging in Tanzanian secondary education

This study aims to explore motives behind teachers' and students' use of translanguaging and how they use it in Tanzanian public secondary school classrooms.

Negotiating with technology: advancing the virtual in qualitative research methods

This study aims to describe key elements that are critical to virtual qualitative research especially while working with practitioners as participants.

Using data as poetry and text in case study research – poetic representations of adult learner experiences in neighbourhood houses

We argue this method of inquiry better represents the participants' learning, lives and experiences in the formal neoliberal education system prioritising performativity…

Conducting collage elicitation research online: what happens when we remove the scissors and glue?

This autoethnographic article presents the adaptation of collage—an arts-based method traditionally used in face-to-face settings—into an online research tool. It emphasizes the…

“But our worlds are different!”: reflexivity as a tool to negotiate insider–outsider dilemmas

In ethnographic research, negotiating insider–outsider perspectives is essential in order to get closer to the participants’ lives. By highlighting the importance of empathy and…

“Online group discussion was challenging but we enjoyed it!” an exploratory practice in extensive reading

While many works have reported adopting exploratory practice (EP) principles in language teaching research, only a few studies have explored the enactment of EP in an online…

Free association and qualitative research interviewing: perspectives and applications

This paper contributes to a dialogue about the psychoanalytic concept of free association and its application in the context of qualitative research interviewing. In doing so, it…

Opportunities and challenges facing LGBTQ+ people in employment in rural England post-pandemic: a thematic analysis

The following study aimed to better understand rural dwelling LGBTQ+ adults’ experiences of the challenges and opportunities facing their working lives in England.

Tell me about your trauma: an empathetic approach-based protocol for interviewing school leaders who have experienced a crisis

In this study, we illuminate how techniques can be incorporated into interview protocols when conducting research with educational leaders who are being asked to discuss their…

Advancing women to leadership in academia: does personal branding matter?

Personal branding is a strategic tool of marketing and communication to define success in organisations. While it constitutes a conscious attempt to commodify self and audit self…

Reflections on a cross-cultural interview study

The aim of this article is to address some aspects of a cross-cultural interview study conducted in a PhD research project. This is done by reflecting on and discussing the…

Translanguaging approaches and perceptions of Iranian EGP teachers in bi/multilingual educational spaces: a qualitative inquiry

This study aims to analyze translanguaging practices and beliefs of Iranian English for General Purposes (EGP) teachers and find discrepancies between the practice and perception…

Women leaders' lived experiences of bravery in leadership

The research aims to understand the stories of women leaders who have demonstrated bravery in leadership. By analyzing their lived experiences through storytelling and narratives…

Listening to children's voices: reflections on methods, practices and ethics in researching with children using zoom video interviews

The purpose of this research was to reflect on the enablers, challenges and ethical considerations in conducting qualitative research with young children using online methods. The…

Using teacher narratives to map policy effects in the Victorian Government International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB-PYP) context

Government primary schools in Australia increasingly take up the International Baccalaureate's Primary Years Programme (IB-PYP) to supplement government-mandated curriculum and…

The use of digital technologies in the co-creation process of photo elicitation

This article approaches the possibilities of photo elicitation as a technique for social research in the landscape of technology-mediated instantaneous interpersonal communication.

Culturally responsive and communicative teaching for multicultural integration: qualitative analysis from public secondary school

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About Journal

American Journal of Qualitative Research (AJQR)  is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal that publishes qualitative research articles from a number of social science disciplines such as psychology, health science, sociology, criminology, education, political science, and administrative studies. The journal is an international and interdisciplinary focus and greatly welcomes papers from all countries. The journal offers an intellectual platform for researchers, practitioners, administrators, and policymakers to contribute and promote qualitative research and analysis.

ISSN: 2576-2141

Call for Papers- American Journal of Qualitative Research

American Journal of Qualitative Research (AJQR) welcomes original research articles and book reviews for its next issue. The AJQR is a quarterly and peer-reviewed journal published in February, May, August, and November.

We are seeking submissions for a forthcoming issue published in February 2024. The paper should be written in professional English. The length of 6000-10000 words is preferred. All manuscripts should be prepared in MS Word format and submitted online: https://www.editorialpark.com/ajqr

For any further information about the journal, please visit its website: https://www.ajqr.org

Submission Deadline: November 15, 2023

Announcement 

Dear AJQR Readers, 

Due to the high volume of submissions in the American Journal of Qualitative Research , the editorial board decided to publish quarterly since 2023.

Volume 8, Issue 1

Current issue.

Social distancing requirements resulted in many people working from home in the United Kingdom during the COVID-19 pandemic. The topic of working from home was often discussed in the media and online during the pandemic, but little was known about how quality of life (QOL) and remote working interfaced. The purpose of this study was to describe QOL while working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The novel topic, unique methodological approach of the General Online Qualitative Study ( D’Abundo & Franco, 2022a), and the strategic Social Distancing Sampling ( D’Abundo & Franco, 2022c) resulted in significant participation throughout the world (n = 709). The United Kingdom subset of participants (n = 234) is the focus of this article. This big qual, large qualitative study (n >100) included the principal investigator-developed, open-ended, online questionnaire entitled the “Quality of Life Home Workplace Questionnaire (QOLHWQ)” and demographic questions. Data were collected peak-pandemic from July to September 2020. Most participants cited increased QOL due to having more time with family/kids/partners/pets, a more comfortable work environment while being at home, and less commuting to work. The most cited issue associated with negative QOL was social isolation. As restrictions have been lifted and public health emergency declarations have been terminated during the post-peak era of the COVID-19 pandemic, the potential for future public health emergencies requiring social distancing still exists. To promote QOL and work-life balance for employees working remotely in the United Kingdom, stakeholders could develop social support networks and create effective planning initiatives to prevent social isolation and maximize the benefits of remote working experiences for both employees and organizations.

Keywords: qualitative research, quality of life, remote work, telework, United Kingdom, work from home.

(no abstract)

This essay reviews classic works on the philosophy of science and contemporary pedagogical guides to scientific inquiry in order to present a discussion of the three logics that underlie qualitative research in political science. The first logic, epistemology, relates to the essence of research as a scientific endeavor and is framed as a debate between positivist and interpretivist orientations within the discipline of political science. The second logic, ontology, relates to the approach that research takes to investigating the empirical world and is framed as a debate between positivist qualitative and quantitative orientations, which together constitute the vast majority of mainstream researchers within the discipline. The third logic, methodology, relates to the means by which research aspires to reach its scientific ends and is framed as a debate among positivist qualitative orientations. Additionally, the essay discusses the present state of qualitative research in the discipline of political science, reviews the various ways in which qualitative research is defined in the relevant literature, addresses the limitations and trade-offs that are inherently associated with the aforementioned logics of qualitative research, explores multimethod approaches to remedying these issues, and proposes avenues for acquiring further information on the topics discussed.

Keywords: qualitative research, epistemology, ontology, methodology

This paper examines the phenomenology of diagnostic crossover in eating disorders, the movement within or between feeding and eating disorder subtypes or diagnoses over time, in two young women who experienced multiple changes in eating disorder diagnosis over 5 years. Using interpretative phenomenological analysis, this study found that transitioning between different diagnostic labels, specifically between bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa binge/purge subtype, was experienced as disempowering, stigmatizing, and unhelpful. The findings in this study offer novel evidence that, from the perspective of individuals diagnosed with EDs, using BMI as an indicator of the presence, severity, or change of an ED may have adverse consequences for well-being and recovery and may lead to mischaracterization or misclassification of health status. The narratives discussed in this paper highlight the need for more person-centered practices in the context of diagnostic crossover. Including the perspectives of those with lived experience can help care providers working with individuals with eating disorders gain an in-depth understanding of the potential personal impact of diagnosis changing and inform discussions around developing person-focused diagnostic practices.

Keywords: feeding and eating disorders, bulimia nervosa, diagnostic labels, diagnostic crossover, illness narrative

Often among the first witnesses to child trauma, educators and therapists are on the frontline of an unfolding and multi-pronged occupational crisis. For educators, lack of support and secondary traumatic stress (STS) appear to be contributing to an epidemic in professional attrition. Similarly, therapists who do not prioritize self-care can feel depleted of energy and optimism. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to examine how bearing witness to the traumatic narratives of children impacts similar helping professionals. The study also sought to extrapolate the similarities and differences between compassion fatigue and secondary trauma across these two disciplines. Exploring the common factors and subjective individual experiences related to occupational stress across these two fields may foster a more complete picture of the delicate nature of working with traumatized children and the importance of successful self-care strategies. Utilizing Constructivist Self-Development Theory (CSDT) and focus group interviews, the study explores the significant risk of STS facing both educators and therapists.

Keywords: qualitative, secondary traumatic stress, self-care, child trauma, educators, therapists.

This study explored the lived experiences of residents of the Gulf Coast in the USA during Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall in August 2005 and caused insurmountable destruction throughout the area. A heuristic process and thematic analysis were employed to draw observations and conclusions about the lived experiences of each participant and make meaning through similar thoughts, feelings, and themes that emerged in the analysis of the data. Six themes emerged: (1) fear, (2) loss, (3) anger, (4) support, (5) spirituality, and (6) resilience. The results of this study allude to the possible psychological outcomes as a result of experiencing a traumatic event and provide an outline of what the psychological experience of trauma might entail. The current research suggests that preparedness and expectation are key to resilience and that people who feel that they have power over their situation fare better than those who do not.

Keywords: mass trauma, resilience, loss, natural disaster, mental health.

Women from rural, low-income backgrounds holding positions within the academy are the exception and not the rule. Most women faculty in the academy are from urban/suburban areas and middle- and upper-income family backgrounds. As women faculty who do not represent this norm, our primary goal with this article is to focus on the unique barriers we experienced as girls from rural, low-income areas in K-12 schools that influenced the possibilities for successfully transitioning to and engaging with higher education. We employed a qualitative duoethnographic and narrative research design to respond to the research questions, and we generated our data through semi-structured, critical, ethnographic dialogic conversations. Our duoethnographic-narrative analyses revealed six major themes: (1) independence and other   benefits of having a working-class mom; (2) crashing into middle-class norms and expectations; (3) lucking and falling into college; (4) fish out of water; (5) overcompensating, playing middle class, walking on eggshells, and pushing back; and (6) transitioning from a working-class kid to a working class academic, which we discuss in relation to our own educational attainment.

Keywords: rurality, working-class, educational attainment, duoethnography, higher education, women.

This article draws on the findings of a qualitative study that focused on the perspectives of four Indian American mothers of youth with developmental disabilities on the process of transitioning from school to post-school environments. Data were collected through in-depth ethnographic interviews. The findings indicate that in their efforts to support their youth with developmental disabilities, the mothers themselves navigate multiple transitions across countries, constructs, dreams, systems of schooling, and services. The mothers’ perspectives have to be understood against the larger context of their experiences as citizens of this country as well as members of the South Asian diaspora. The mothers’ views on services, their journey, their dreams for their youth, and their interpretation of the ideas anchored in current conversations on transition are continually evolving. Their attempts to maintain their resilience and their indigenous understandings while simultaneously negotiating their experiences in the United States with supporting their youth are discussed.  

Keywords: Indian-American mothers, transitioning, diaspora, disability, dreams.

This study explored the influence of yoga on practitioners’ lives ‘off the mat’ through a phenomenological lens. Central to the study was the lived experience of yoga in a purposive sample of self-identified New Zealand practitioners (n=38; 89.5% female; aged 18 to 65 years; 60.5% aged 36 to 55 years). The study’s aim was to explore whether habitual yoga practitioners experience any pro-health downstream effects of their practice ‘off the mat’ via their lived experience of yoga. A qualitative mixed methodology was applied via a phenomenological lens that explicitly acknowledged the researcher’s own experience of the research topic. Qualitative methods comprised an open-ended online survey for all participants (n=38), followed by in-depth semi-structured interviews (n=8) on a randomized subset. Quantitative methods included online outcome measures (health habits, self-efficacy, interoceptive awareness, and physical activity), practice component data (tenure, dose, yoga styles, yoga teacher status, meditation frequency), and socio-demographics. This paper highlights the qualitative findings emerging from participant narratives. Reported benefits of practice included the provision of a filter through which to engage with life and the experience of self-regulation and mindfulness ‘off the mat’. Practitioners experienced yoga as a self-sustaining positive resource via self-regulation guided by an embodied awareness. The key narrative to emerge was an attunement to embodiment through movement. Embodied movement can elicit self-regulatory pathways that support health behavior.

Keywords: embodiment, habit, interoception, mindfulness, movement practice, qualitative, self-regulation, yoga.

Historically and in the present day, Black women’s positionality in the U.S. has paradoxically situated them in a society where they are both intrinsically essential and treated as expendable. This positionality, known as gendered racism, manifests commonly in professional environments and results in myriad harms. In response, Black women have developed, honed, and practiced a range of coping styles to mitigate the insidious effects of gendered racism. While often effective in the short-term, these techniques frequently complicate Black women’s well-being. For Black female clinicians who experience gendered racism and work on the frontlines of community mental health, myriad bio-psycho-social-spiritual harms compound. This project provided an opportunity for Black female clinicians from across the U.S. to share their experiences during the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and anti-Black violence. I conducted in-depth interviews with clinicians (n=14) between the ages of 30 and 58. Using the Listening Guide voice-centered approach to data generation and analysis, I identified four voices to help answer this project’s central question: How do you experience being a Black female clinician in the U.S.? The voices of self, pride, vigilance, and mediating narrated the complex ways participants experienced their workplaces. This complexity seemed to be context-specific, depending on whether the clinicians worked in predominantly White workplaces (PWW), a mix of PWW and private practice, or private practice exclusively. Participants who worked only in PWW experienced the greatest stress, oppression, and burnout risk, while participants who worked exclusively in private practice reported more joy, more authenticity, and more job satisfaction. These findings have implications for mentoring, supporting, and retaining Black female clinicians.

Keywords: Black female clinicians, professional experiences, gendered racism, Listening Guide voice-centered approach.

The purpose of this article is to speak directly to the paucity of research regarding Dominican American women and identity narratives. To do so, this article uses the Listening Guide Method of Qualitative Inquiry (Gilligan, et al., 2006) to explore how 1.5 and second-generation Dominican American women narrated their experiences of individual identity within American cultural contexts and constructs. The results draw from the emergence of themes across six participant interviews and showed two distinct voices: The Voice of Cultural Explanation and the Tides of Dominican American Female Identity. Narrative examples from five participants are offered to illustrate where 1.5 and second-generation Dominican American women negotiate their identity narratives at the intersection of their Dominican and American selves. The article offers two conclusions. One, that participant women use the Voice of Cultural Explanation in order to discuss their identity as reflected within the broad cultural tensions of their daily lives. Two, that the Tides of Dominican American Female Identity are used to express strong emotions that manifest within their personal narratives as the unwanted distance from either the Dominican or American parts of their person.

Keywords: Dominican American, women, identity, the Listening Guide, narratives

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How to use and assess qualitative research methods

Loraine busetto.

1 Department of Neurology, Heidelberg University Hospital, Im Neuenheimer Feld 400, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany

Wolfgang Wick

2 Clinical Cooperation Unit Neuro-Oncology, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany

Christoph Gumbinger

Associated data.

Not applicable.

This paper aims to provide an overview of the use and assessment of qualitative research methods in the health sciences. Qualitative research can be defined as the study of the nature of phenomena and is especially appropriate for answering questions of why something is (not) observed, assessing complex multi-component interventions, and focussing on intervention improvement. The most common methods of data collection are document study, (non-) participant observations, semi-structured interviews and focus groups. For data analysis, field-notes and audio-recordings are transcribed into protocols and transcripts, and coded using qualitative data management software. Criteria such as checklists, reflexivity, sampling strategies, piloting, co-coding, member-checking and stakeholder involvement can be used to enhance and assess the quality of the research conducted. Using qualitative in addition to quantitative designs will equip us with better tools to address a greater range of research problems, and to fill in blind spots in current neurological research and practice.

The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of qualitative research methods, including hands-on information on how they can be used, reported and assessed. This article is intended for beginning qualitative researchers in the health sciences as well as experienced quantitative researchers who wish to broaden their understanding of qualitative research.

What is qualitative research?

Qualitative research is defined as “the study of the nature of phenomena”, including “their quality, different manifestations, the context in which they appear or the perspectives from which they can be perceived” , but excluding “their range, frequency and place in an objectively determined chain of cause and effect” [ 1 ]. This formal definition can be complemented with a more pragmatic rule of thumb: qualitative research generally includes data in form of words rather than numbers [ 2 ].

Why conduct qualitative research?

Because some research questions cannot be answered using (only) quantitative methods. For example, one Australian study addressed the issue of why patients from Aboriginal communities often present late or not at all to specialist services offered by tertiary care hospitals. Using qualitative interviews with patients and staff, it found one of the most significant access barriers to be transportation problems, including some towns and communities simply not having a bus service to the hospital [ 3 ]. A quantitative study could have measured the number of patients over time or even looked at possible explanatory factors – but only those previously known or suspected to be of relevance. To discover reasons for observed patterns, especially the invisible or surprising ones, qualitative designs are needed.

While qualitative research is common in other fields, it is still relatively underrepresented in health services research. The latter field is more traditionally rooted in the evidence-based-medicine paradigm, as seen in " research that involves testing the effectiveness of various strategies to achieve changes in clinical practice, preferably applying randomised controlled trial study designs (...) " [ 4 ]. This focus on quantitative research and specifically randomised controlled trials (RCT) is visible in the idea of a hierarchy of research evidence which assumes that some research designs are objectively better than others, and that choosing a "lesser" design is only acceptable when the better ones are not practically or ethically feasible [ 5 , 6 ]. Others, however, argue that an objective hierarchy does not exist, and that, instead, the research design and methods should be chosen to fit the specific research question at hand – "questions before methods" [ 2 , 7 – 9 ]. This means that even when an RCT is possible, some research problems require a different design that is better suited to addressing them. Arguing in JAMA, Berwick uses the example of rapid response teams in hospitals, which he describes as " a complex, multicomponent intervention – essentially a process of social change" susceptible to a range of different context factors including leadership or organisation history. According to him, "[in] such complex terrain, the RCT is an impoverished way to learn. Critics who use it as a truth standard in this context are incorrect" [ 8 ] . Instead of limiting oneself to RCTs, Berwick recommends embracing a wider range of methods , including qualitative ones, which for "these specific applications, (...) are not compromises in learning how to improve; they are superior" [ 8 ].

Research problems that can be approached particularly well using qualitative methods include assessing complex multi-component interventions or systems (of change), addressing questions beyond “what works”, towards “what works for whom when, how and why”, and focussing on intervention improvement rather than accreditation [ 7 , 9 – 12 ]. Using qualitative methods can also help shed light on the “softer” side of medical treatment. For example, while quantitative trials can measure the costs and benefits of neuro-oncological treatment in terms of survival rates or adverse effects, qualitative research can help provide a better understanding of patient or caregiver stress, visibility of illness or out-of-pocket expenses.

How to conduct qualitative research?

Given that qualitative research is characterised by flexibility, openness and responsivity to context, the steps of data collection and analysis are not as separate and consecutive as they tend to be in quantitative research [ 13 , 14 ]. As Fossey puts it : “sampling, data collection, analysis and interpretation are related to each other in a cyclical (iterative) manner, rather than following one after another in a stepwise approach” [ 15 ]. The researcher can make educated decisions with regard to the choice of method, how they are implemented, and to which and how many units they are applied [ 13 ]. As shown in Fig.  1 , this can involve several back-and-forth steps between data collection and analysis where new insights and experiences can lead to adaption and expansion of the original plan. Some insights may also necessitate a revision of the research question and/or the research design as a whole. The process ends when saturation is achieved, i.e. when no relevant new information can be found (see also below: sampling and saturation). For reasons of transparency, it is essential for all decisions as well as the underlying reasoning to be well-documented.

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Iterative research process

While it is not always explicitly addressed, qualitative methods reflect a different underlying research paradigm than quantitative research (e.g. constructivism or interpretivism as opposed to positivism). The choice of methods can be based on the respective underlying substantive theory or theoretical framework used by the researcher [ 2 ].

Data collection

The methods of qualitative data collection most commonly used in health research are document study, observations, semi-structured interviews and focus groups [ 1 , 14 , 16 , 17 ].

Document study

Document study (also called document analysis) refers to the review by the researcher of written materials [ 14 ]. These can include personal and non-personal documents such as archives, annual reports, guidelines, policy documents, diaries or letters.

Observations

Observations are particularly useful to gain insights into a certain setting and actual behaviour – as opposed to reported behaviour or opinions [ 13 ]. Qualitative observations can be either participant or non-participant in nature. In participant observations, the observer is part of the observed setting, for example a nurse working in an intensive care unit [ 18 ]. In non-participant observations, the observer is “on the outside looking in”, i.e. present in but not part of the situation, trying not to influence the setting by their presence. Observations can be planned (e.g. for 3 h during the day or night shift) or ad hoc (e.g. as soon as a stroke patient arrives at the emergency room). During the observation, the observer takes notes on everything or certain pre-determined parts of what is happening around them, for example focusing on physician-patient interactions or communication between different professional groups. Written notes can be taken during or after the observations, depending on feasibility (which is usually lower during participant observations) and acceptability (e.g. when the observer is perceived to be judging the observed). Afterwards, these field notes are transcribed into observation protocols. If more than one observer was involved, field notes are taken independently, but notes can be consolidated into one protocol after discussions. Advantages of conducting observations include minimising the distance between the researcher and the researched, the potential discovery of topics that the researcher did not realise were relevant and gaining deeper insights into the real-world dimensions of the research problem at hand [ 18 ].

Semi-structured interviews

Hijmans & Kuyper describe qualitative interviews as “an exchange with an informal character, a conversation with a goal” [ 19 ]. Interviews are used to gain insights into a person’s subjective experiences, opinions and motivations – as opposed to facts or behaviours [ 13 ]. Interviews can be distinguished by the degree to which they are structured (i.e. a questionnaire), open (e.g. free conversation or autobiographical interviews) or semi-structured [ 2 , 13 ]. Semi-structured interviews are characterized by open-ended questions and the use of an interview guide (or topic guide/list) in which the broad areas of interest, sometimes including sub-questions, are defined [ 19 ]. The pre-defined topics in the interview guide can be derived from the literature, previous research or a preliminary method of data collection, e.g. document study or observations. The topic list is usually adapted and improved at the start of the data collection process as the interviewer learns more about the field [ 20 ]. Across interviews the focus on the different (blocks of) questions may differ and some questions may be skipped altogether (e.g. if the interviewee is not able or willing to answer the questions or for concerns about the total length of the interview) [ 20 ]. Qualitative interviews are usually not conducted in written format as it impedes on the interactive component of the method [ 20 ]. In comparison to written surveys, qualitative interviews have the advantage of being interactive and allowing for unexpected topics to emerge and to be taken up by the researcher. This can also help overcome a provider or researcher-centred bias often found in written surveys, which by nature, can only measure what is already known or expected to be of relevance to the researcher. Interviews can be audio- or video-taped; but sometimes it is only feasible or acceptable for the interviewer to take written notes [ 14 , 16 , 20 ].

Focus groups

Focus groups are group interviews to explore participants’ expertise and experiences, including explorations of how and why people behave in certain ways [ 1 ]. Focus groups usually consist of 6–8 people and are led by an experienced moderator following a topic guide or “script” [ 21 ]. They can involve an observer who takes note of the non-verbal aspects of the situation, possibly using an observation guide [ 21 ]. Depending on researchers’ and participants’ preferences, the discussions can be audio- or video-taped and transcribed afterwards [ 21 ]. Focus groups are useful for bringing together homogeneous (to a lesser extent heterogeneous) groups of participants with relevant expertise and experience on a given topic on which they can share detailed information [ 21 ]. Focus groups are a relatively easy, fast and inexpensive method to gain access to information on interactions in a given group, i.e. “the sharing and comparing” among participants [ 21 ]. Disadvantages include less control over the process and a lesser extent to which each individual may participate. Moreover, focus group moderators need experience, as do those tasked with the analysis of the resulting data. Focus groups can be less appropriate for discussing sensitive topics that participants might be reluctant to disclose in a group setting [ 13 ]. Moreover, attention must be paid to the emergence of “groupthink” as well as possible power dynamics within the group, e.g. when patients are awed or intimidated by health professionals.

Choosing the “right” method

As explained above, the school of thought underlying qualitative research assumes no objective hierarchy of evidence and methods. This means that each choice of single or combined methods has to be based on the research question that needs to be answered and a critical assessment with regard to whether or to what extent the chosen method can accomplish this – i.e. the “fit” between question and method [ 14 ]. It is necessary for these decisions to be documented when they are being made, and to be critically discussed when reporting methods and results.

Let us assume that our research aim is to examine the (clinical) processes around acute endovascular treatment (EVT), from the patient’s arrival at the emergency room to recanalization, with the aim to identify possible causes for delay and/or other causes for sub-optimal treatment outcome. As a first step, we could conduct a document study of the relevant standard operating procedures (SOPs) for this phase of care – are they up-to-date and in line with current guidelines? Do they contain any mistakes, irregularities or uncertainties that could cause delays or other problems? Regardless of the answers to these questions, the results have to be interpreted based on what they are: a written outline of what care processes in this hospital should look like. If we want to know what they actually look like in practice, we can conduct observations of the processes described in the SOPs. These results can (and should) be analysed in themselves, but also in comparison to the results of the document analysis, especially as regards relevant discrepancies. Do the SOPs outline specific tests for which no equipment can be observed or tasks to be performed by specialized nurses who are not present during the observation? It might also be possible that the written SOP is outdated, but the actual care provided is in line with current best practice. In order to find out why these discrepancies exist, it can be useful to conduct interviews. Are the physicians simply not aware of the SOPs (because their existence is limited to the hospital’s intranet) or do they actively disagree with them or does the infrastructure make it impossible to provide the care as described? Another rationale for adding interviews is that some situations (or all of their possible variations for different patient groups or the day, night or weekend shift) cannot practically or ethically be observed. In this case, it is possible to ask those involved to report on their actions – being aware that this is not the same as the actual observation. A senior physician’s or hospital manager’s description of certain situations might differ from a nurse’s or junior physician’s one, maybe because they intentionally misrepresent facts or maybe because different aspects of the process are visible or important to them. In some cases, it can also be relevant to consider to whom the interviewee is disclosing this information – someone they trust, someone they are otherwise not connected to, or someone they suspect or are aware of being in a potentially “dangerous” power relationship to them. Lastly, a focus group could be conducted with representatives of the relevant professional groups to explore how and why exactly they provide care around EVT. The discussion might reveal discrepancies (between SOPs and actual care or between different physicians) and motivations to the researchers as well as to the focus group members that they might not have been aware of themselves. For the focus group to deliver relevant information, attention has to be paid to its composition and conduct, for example, to make sure that all participants feel safe to disclose sensitive or potentially problematic information or that the discussion is not dominated by (senior) physicians only. The resulting combination of data collection methods is shown in Fig.  2 .

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Possible combination of data collection methods

Attributions for icons: “Book” by Serhii Smirnov, “Interview” by Adrien Coquet, FR, “Magnifying Glass” by anggun, ID, “Business communication” by Vectors Market; all from the Noun Project

The combination of multiple data source as described for this example can be referred to as “triangulation”, in which multiple measurements are carried out from different angles to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon under study [ 22 , 23 ].

Data analysis

To analyse the data collected through observations, interviews and focus groups these need to be transcribed into protocols and transcripts (see Fig.  3 ). Interviews and focus groups can be transcribed verbatim , with or without annotations for behaviour (e.g. laughing, crying, pausing) and with or without phonetic transcription of dialects and filler words, depending on what is expected or known to be relevant for the analysis. In the next step, the protocols and transcripts are coded , that is, marked (or tagged, labelled) with one or more short descriptors of the content of a sentence or paragraph [ 2 , 15 , 23 ]. Jansen describes coding as “connecting the raw data with “theoretical” terms” [ 20 ]. In a more practical sense, coding makes raw data sortable. This makes it possible to extract and examine all segments describing, say, a tele-neurology consultation from multiple data sources (e.g. SOPs, emergency room observations, staff and patient interview). In a process of synthesis and abstraction, the codes are then grouped, summarised and/or categorised [ 15 , 20 ]. The end product of the coding or analysis process is a descriptive theory of the behavioural pattern under investigation [ 20 ]. The coding process is performed using qualitative data management software, the most common ones being InVivo, MaxQDA and Atlas.ti. It should be noted that these are data management tools which support the analysis performed by the researcher(s) [ 14 ].

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From data collection to data analysis

Attributions for icons: see Fig. ​ Fig.2, 2 , also “Speech to text” by Trevor Dsouza, “Field Notes” by Mike O’Brien, US, “Voice Record” by ProSymbols, US, “Inspection” by Made, AU, and “Cloud” by Graphic Tigers; all from the Noun Project

How to report qualitative research?

Protocols of qualitative research can be published separately and in advance of the study results. However, the aim is not the same as in RCT protocols, i.e. to pre-define and set in stone the research questions and primary or secondary endpoints. Rather, it is a way to describe the research methods in detail, which might not be possible in the results paper given journals’ word limits. Qualitative research papers are usually longer than their quantitative counterparts to allow for deep understanding and so-called “thick description”. In the methods section, the focus is on transparency of the methods used, including why, how and by whom they were implemented in the specific study setting, so as to enable a discussion of whether and how this may have influenced data collection, analysis and interpretation. The results section usually starts with a paragraph outlining the main findings, followed by more detailed descriptions of, for example, the commonalities, discrepancies or exceptions per category [ 20 ]. Here it is important to support main findings by relevant quotations, which may add information, context, emphasis or real-life examples [ 20 , 23 ]. It is subject to debate in the field whether it is relevant to state the exact number or percentage of respondents supporting a certain statement (e.g. “Five interviewees expressed negative feelings towards XYZ”) [ 21 ].

How to combine qualitative with quantitative research?

Qualitative methods can be combined with other methods in multi- or mixed methods designs, which “[employ] two or more different methods [ …] within the same study or research program rather than confining the research to one single method” [ 24 ]. Reasons for combining methods can be diverse, including triangulation for corroboration of findings, complementarity for illustration and clarification of results, expansion to extend the breadth and range of the study, explanation of (unexpected) results generated with one method with the help of another, or offsetting the weakness of one method with the strength of another [ 1 , 17 , 24 – 26 ]. The resulting designs can be classified according to when, why and how the different quantitative and/or qualitative data strands are combined. The three most common types of mixed method designs are the convergent parallel design , the explanatory sequential design and the exploratory sequential design. The designs with examples are shown in Fig.  4 .

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Three common mixed methods designs

In the convergent parallel design, a qualitative study is conducted in parallel to and independently of a quantitative study, and the results of both studies are compared and combined at the stage of interpretation of results. Using the above example of EVT provision, this could entail setting up a quantitative EVT registry to measure process times and patient outcomes in parallel to conducting the qualitative research outlined above, and then comparing results. Amongst other things, this would make it possible to assess whether interview respondents’ subjective impressions of patients receiving good care match modified Rankin Scores at follow-up, or whether observed delays in care provision are exceptions or the rule when compared to door-to-needle times as documented in the registry. In the explanatory sequential design, a quantitative study is carried out first, followed by a qualitative study to help explain the results from the quantitative study. This would be an appropriate design if the registry alone had revealed relevant delays in door-to-needle times and the qualitative study would be used to understand where and why these occurred, and how they could be improved. In the exploratory design, the qualitative study is carried out first and its results help informing and building the quantitative study in the next step [ 26 ]. If the qualitative study around EVT provision had shown a high level of dissatisfaction among the staff members involved, a quantitative questionnaire investigating staff satisfaction could be set up in the next step, informed by the qualitative study on which topics dissatisfaction had been expressed. Amongst other things, the questionnaire design would make it possible to widen the reach of the research to more respondents from different (types of) hospitals, regions, countries or settings, and to conduct sub-group analyses for different professional groups.

How to assess qualitative research?

A variety of assessment criteria and lists have been developed for qualitative research, ranging in their focus and comprehensiveness [ 14 , 17 , 27 ]. However, none of these has been elevated to the “gold standard” in the field. In the following, we therefore focus on a set of commonly used assessment criteria that, from a practical standpoint, a researcher can look for when assessing a qualitative research report or paper.

Assessors should check the authors’ use of and adherence to the relevant reporting checklists (e.g. Standards for Reporting Qualitative Research (SRQR)) to make sure all items that are relevant for this type of research are addressed [ 23 , 28 ]. Discussions of quantitative measures in addition to or instead of these qualitative measures can be a sign of lower quality of the research (paper). Providing and adhering to a checklist for qualitative research contributes to an important quality criterion for qualitative research, namely transparency [ 15 , 17 , 23 ].

Reflexivity

While methodological transparency and complete reporting is relevant for all types of research, some additional criteria must be taken into account for qualitative research. This includes what is called reflexivity, i.e. sensitivity to the relationship between the researcher and the researched, including how contact was established and maintained, or the background and experience of the researcher(s) involved in data collection and analysis. Depending on the research question and population to be researched this can be limited to professional experience, but it may also include gender, age or ethnicity [ 17 , 27 ]. These details are relevant because in qualitative research, as opposed to quantitative research, the researcher as a person cannot be isolated from the research process [ 23 ]. It may influence the conversation when an interviewed patient speaks to an interviewer who is a physician, or when an interviewee is asked to discuss a gynaecological procedure with a male interviewer, and therefore the reader must be made aware of these details [ 19 ].

Sampling and saturation

The aim of qualitative sampling is for all variants of the objects of observation that are deemed relevant for the study to be present in the sample “ to see the issue and its meanings from as many angles as possible” [ 1 , 16 , 19 , 20 , 27 ] , and to ensure “information-richness [ 15 ]. An iterative sampling approach is advised, in which data collection (e.g. five interviews) is followed by data analysis, followed by more data collection to find variants that are lacking in the current sample. This process continues until no new (relevant) information can be found and further sampling becomes redundant – which is called saturation [ 1 , 15 ] . In other words: qualitative data collection finds its end point not a priori , but when the research team determines that saturation has been reached [ 29 , 30 ].

This is also the reason why most qualitative studies use deliberate instead of random sampling strategies. This is generally referred to as “ purposive sampling” , in which researchers pre-define which types of participants or cases they need to include so as to cover all variations that are expected to be of relevance, based on the literature, previous experience or theory (i.e. theoretical sampling) [ 14 , 20 ]. Other types of purposive sampling include (but are not limited to) maximum variation sampling, critical case sampling or extreme or deviant case sampling [ 2 ]. In the above EVT example, a purposive sample could include all relevant professional groups and/or all relevant stakeholders (patients, relatives) and/or all relevant times of observation (day, night and weekend shift).

Assessors of qualitative research should check whether the considerations underlying the sampling strategy were sound and whether or how researchers tried to adapt and improve their strategies in stepwise or cyclical approaches between data collection and analysis to achieve saturation [ 14 ].

Good qualitative research is iterative in nature, i.e. it goes back and forth between data collection and analysis, revising and improving the approach where necessary. One example of this are pilot interviews, where different aspects of the interview (especially the interview guide, but also, for example, the site of the interview or whether the interview can be audio-recorded) are tested with a small number of respondents, evaluated and revised [ 19 ]. In doing so, the interviewer learns which wording or types of questions work best, or which is the best length of an interview with patients who have trouble concentrating for an extended time. Of course, the same reasoning applies to observations or focus groups which can also be piloted.

Ideally, coding should be performed by at least two researchers, especially at the beginning of the coding process when a common approach must be defined, including the establishment of a useful coding list (or tree), and when a common meaning of individual codes must be established [ 23 ]. An initial sub-set or all transcripts can be coded independently by the coders and then compared and consolidated after regular discussions in the research team. This is to make sure that codes are applied consistently to the research data.

Member checking

Member checking, also called respondent validation , refers to the practice of checking back with study respondents to see if the research is in line with their views [ 14 , 27 ]. This can happen after data collection or analysis or when first results are available [ 23 ]. For example, interviewees can be provided with (summaries of) their transcripts and asked whether they believe this to be a complete representation of their views or whether they would like to clarify or elaborate on their responses [ 17 ]. Respondents’ feedback on these issues then becomes part of the data collection and analysis [ 27 ].

Stakeholder involvement

In those niches where qualitative approaches have been able to evolve and grow, a new trend has seen the inclusion of patients and their representatives not only as study participants (i.e. “members”, see above) but as consultants to and active participants in the broader research process [ 31 – 33 ]. The underlying assumption is that patients and other stakeholders hold unique perspectives and experiences that add value beyond their own single story, making the research more relevant and beneficial to researchers, study participants and (future) patients alike [ 34 , 35 ]. Using the example of patients on or nearing dialysis, a recent scoping review found that 80% of clinical research did not address the top 10 research priorities identified by patients and caregivers [ 32 , 36 ]. In this sense, the involvement of the relevant stakeholders, especially patients and relatives, is increasingly being seen as a quality indicator in and of itself.

How not to assess qualitative research

The above overview does not include certain items that are routine in assessments of quantitative research. What follows is a non-exhaustive, non-representative, experience-based list of the quantitative criteria often applied to the assessment of qualitative research, as well as an explanation of the limited usefulness of these endeavours.

Protocol adherence

Given the openness and flexibility of qualitative research, it should not be assessed by how well it adheres to pre-determined and fixed strategies – in other words: its rigidity. Instead, the assessor should look for signs of adaptation and refinement based on lessons learned from earlier steps in the research process.

Sample size

For the reasons explained above, qualitative research does not require specific sample sizes, nor does it require that the sample size be determined a priori [ 1 , 14 , 27 , 37 – 39 ]. Sample size can only be a useful quality indicator when related to the research purpose, the chosen methodology and the composition of the sample, i.e. who was included and why.

Randomisation

While some authors argue that randomisation can be used in qualitative research, this is not commonly the case, as neither its feasibility nor its necessity or usefulness has been convincingly established for qualitative research [ 13 , 27 ]. Relevant disadvantages include the negative impact of a too large sample size as well as the possibility (or probability) of selecting “ quiet, uncooperative or inarticulate individuals ” [ 17 ]. Qualitative studies do not use control groups, either.

Interrater reliability, variability and other “objectivity checks”

The concept of “interrater reliability” is sometimes used in qualitative research to assess to which extent the coding approach overlaps between the two co-coders. However, it is not clear what this measure tells us about the quality of the analysis [ 23 ]. This means that these scores can be included in qualitative research reports, preferably with some additional information on what the score means for the analysis, but it is not a requirement. Relatedly, it is not relevant for the quality or “objectivity” of qualitative research to separate those who recruited the study participants and collected and analysed the data. Experiences even show that it might be better to have the same person or team perform all of these tasks [ 20 ]. First, when researchers introduce themselves during recruitment this can enhance trust when the interview takes place days or weeks later with the same researcher. Second, when the audio-recording is transcribed for analysis, the researcher conducting the interviews will usually remember the interviewee and the specific interview situation during data analysis. This might be helpful in providing additional context information for interpretation of data, e.g. on whether something might have been meant as a joke [ 18 ].

Not being quantitative research

Being qualitative research instead of quantitative research should not be used as an assessment criterion if it is used irrespectively of the research problem at hand. Similarly, qualitative research should not be required to be combined with quantitative research per se – unless mixed methods research is judged as inherently better than single-method research. In this case, the same criterion should be applied for quantitative studies without a qualitative component.

The main take-away points of this paper are summarised in Table ​ Table1. 1 . We aimed to show that, if conducted well, qualitative research can answer specific research questions that cannot to be adequately answered using (only) quantitative designs. Seeing qualitative and quantitative methods as equal will help us become more aware and critical of the “fit” between the research problem and our chosen methods: I can conduct an RCT to determine the reasons for transportation delays of acute stroke patients – but should I? It also provides us with a greater range of tools to tackle a greater range of research problems more appropriately and successfully, filling in the blind spots on one half of the methodological spectrum to better address the whole complexity of neurological research and practice.

Take-away-points

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LB drafted the manuscript; WW and CG revised the manuscript; all authors approved the final versions.

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Handbook of Clinical Psychology Competencies pp 425–456 Cite as

Qualitative Research

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Qualitative research refers to the group of inquiry approaches developed to produce knowledge about the experiential realm of human beings. The focus of these approaches is on describing and understanding the meanings people attach to their encounters with other people, their cultural environment, and material objects. Qualitative research holds that the organization and content of the human experiential realm more closely resembles that of natural language rather than numbers. Qualitative studies generate data in the form of participant descriptions of their experiences and use literary analytic procedures to produce higher-order descriptions and understandings of the investigated experience. Qualitative studies produce a different kind of knowledge than quantitative studies. Its studies are concerned to examine the depth and fullness of its topic of interest. Because of the kind of knowledge produced by qualitative research, it is grounded in a different ontological and epistemological base than quantitative research. Understanding and practicing qualitative research requires that students do not simply transfer quantitative research principles to qualitative studies, but approach gaining competency in qualitative research from within its own perspective. There are two levels of competency in qualitative research – the basic level and the expert level. Basic level competency includes knowledge about qualitative research including its philosophy of knowledge, its area of study, the tools and techniques it uses, and its traditions. A student who achieves a basic level competency should be able to read and understand a qualitative research report. Expert level competency is an advance beyond the basic level in that, in addition to understanding, it concerns mastery of the skills needed to conduct a qualitative study. These are practice skills and include mastery of in-depth qualitative interviewing and observation, mastery of analytic skills of data in linguistic form, and mastery of communicating results transparently. Mastery of expert competency is achieved by advancement through various stages of skill development to reach a level of expertise. A student who has achieved expert competency should be able to conduct a worthy qualitative study.

The term qualitative research refers to a collection of linguistically based social science research approaches that focus on the study of the human experiential realm. The modern-day practice of qualitative research can be traced to its emergence in the 1970s as part of a reform movement in the social sciences (Schwandt, 2000 ). The reformers were interested in studying the meanings and values through which people understood and made sense of their encounters with the world, with others, and with themselves. They held that the then current mainstream social science methods, with their commitment to a numeric form of data and to statistical analyses, were inadequate for understanding human existence as it was experienced by persons. The reformers proposed that a research approach that was language-based, rather than numeric-based, would allow for deeper and more nuanced knowledge of human experience. In their development of language-based research, the reformers retrieved and revised earlier attempts at such a research, for example, anthropological field studies and University of Chicago symbolic interaction studies. In the decades since 1970, qualitative- or linguistic-based research has become an important component in the repertoire of social science inquiry methods.

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Polkinghorne, D.E. (2010). Qualitative Research. In: Thomas, J.C., Hersen, M. (eds) Handbook of Clinical Psychology Competencies. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-09757-2_16

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EDITORIAL article

Editorial: qualitative research applied to public health: new topics and insight.

\r\nJos Granero-Molina,

  • 1 Department of Nursing, Physiotherapy and Medicine, University of Almería, Almería, Spain
  • 2 Ciencias de la salud, Universidad Autónoma de Chile, Santiago, Chile
  • 3 Department of Physiotherapy, University of Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain

Editorial on the Research Topic Qualitative research applied to public health: new topics and insight

The concept of public health refers to the science and art of preventing diseases and promoting, protecting, and improving health ( 1 ). The essential functions of public health include monitoring the health of the population, keeping watch on risk factors, guaranteeing access to healthcare services, and promoting research, among others. Although there have been many advances over the years in vaccine development, emergency response, the promotion of sexual and reproductive health, and access to medicine, a single solution has yet to be found which meets the needs of the population in different health systems ( 2 ). Classical epidemiology studies the phenomena of health and disease in the community, considering the population as a group of individuals without considering the many individual and social factors. Qualitative methodology contributes to the study of the determinants of health and disease, healthcare planning, the detection of needs, and the evaluation of interventions from the experiences of individuals and societies ( 3 ). In the face of a unitary, measurable, and external reality to the cognoscente, there is a reality which each person creates within the framework of their culture, tradition, and history. Therefore, the implementation of a dual research perspective in public health must involve quantitative approaches that address the generality of the study problem, but also qualitative ones, which include multiple layers of diversity and the range of lived experiences ( 4 , 5 ). As reflected in our Research Topic, the experiences of patients, professionals, and families are key to understanding public health problems.

Research does not occur isolated from the interests and powers of the academic, scientific, personal, or theoretical field ( 6 ). Together with the technical interest in knowing the reality in order to transform it ( Zang et al. ), practical interest points to the intersubjective understanding of the health-disease process, and emancipatory interest points to actively taking charge of this process. In line with studying the experiences of patients, Wang et al. found specific action plans, medical feedback, and periodic records as facilitators of adherence to lifestyle prescriptions among patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Bailey-Davis et al. found that obese patients undergoing treatment in primary care expect personalized treatment options and referrals to effective community programmes. Campaña et al. , suggests that being a woman with a low educational background coming from the public health system outside of the capital could contribute to barriers for effective healthcare for lung cancer in Chile . Gabay , proposes that positive experiences in the relationship between the patient and nurse instill hope for being discharged in intensive care units. Experiences of young generations on the social problems of parental care are addressed by Peng et al. , emphasizing that governments should guarantee that adult children receive help to balance their work, life, and parental care responsibilities. Chen et al. found that major epidemics accelerate and promote major social changes, technological development, political, and economic measures. Experiences of members of public health associations in tracking and treating COVID-19 cases in migrants and refugees are studied by Dawson-Hahn et al. . Qualitative research also studies the experiences of evaluating public health intervention programmes, such as the case of Thoumi et al. when addressing health inequalities in Latinx communities in North Carolina; or the perspective of professionals on the barriers, facilitators, and elements for improving the +AGIL Barcelona programme ( Canet-Vélez and Solis-Navarro ). Teaching-learning experiences are also addressed by qualitative research in the different stages. In undergraduate studies, Zhu et al. suggests that a synthesis of knowledge and practice is needed to improve the professional skills of undergraduate nursing students. In postgraduate studies, Sánchez-Muñoz et al. found that the residency period is important in the training and acquisition of skills as a Family and Community Nursing Specialist Nurse in Spain, and improvements are needed to guarantee quality training and more visibility. Myroniuk et al. recommends involving health sciences students in public health programmes aimed at the community. Experiences of public healthcare professionals have also been studied in our Research Topic. Canet-Vélez et al. suggests that legal regulation has provided a security framework for nurse prescribing. However, strategies are needed for its comprehensive development, public acceptance and to give visibility to nurse prescribing at an international level. Along with practical interest, emancipatory interest is key in qualitative research. Researchers analyze public health problems through self-reflection, seeking social transformation, and participant involvement for change. This positioning generates empowerment, leading patients to participate in decision-making and take charge of their own health. Along these lines, Röger-Offergeld et al. studied how the participation of women as co-researchers leads to their social empowerment beyond the results of the research itself. Melhem et al. found that health literacy and empowering survivors of colorectal cancer promotes a more positive experience when interacting with healthcare systems.

Gadamer and Habermas criticize the excessively objectified and decontextualized nature of positivism and instrumental reason in 20 th century philosophy, recognizing the role of the subject in the creation and acquisition of knowledge and understanding ( 7 ). Qualitative research is increasingly common in contemporary health sciences, helping to incorporate the perspectives of the participants (patients, family, professionals, managers, etc.) in the design and development of the research, treating them as equals. Qualitative public health researchers could strengthen dialogue with conventional research paradigms by fostering an understanding of interdependencies ( 8 ). Investigating social determinants and health inequities requires epidemiologists and public health researchers to expand theories, research methodologies, and involve all participants ( 9 , 10 ). The perspective of those who use public health services differs from the professional, clinical or academic perspective ( 11 ). Qualitative research enables an understanding of how people interpret and respond to public health policies, thus weighing the sources of academic and experiential knowledge ( 12 ). The main strength of qualitative research is the in-depth and rich descriptions of data that is studied ( 13 ). For this reason, it is used in global public health when the problems cannot be analyzed from traditional quantitative approaches, when “silenced voices” are not heard, or when sociocultural contexts are key in decision making and problem solving ( 14 ). This contribution, which complements epidemiological research, is key for all knowledge disciplines that develop research on global public health and on all communities in particular.

Author contributions

JG-M: Writing—review & editing. MR-F: Writing—review & editing. IF-M: Writing—review & editing. SN-N: Writing—review & editing. IS: Writing—review & editing.

The author(s) declare that no financial support was received for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Publisher's note

All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.

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Keywords: public health, qualitative research, experiences, nursing research, health sciences research

Citation: Granero-Molina J, Ruiz-Fernández MD, Fernández-Medina IM, Núñez-Nagy S and Suazo Galdames IC (2024) Editorial: Qualitative research applied to public health: new topics and insight. Front. Public Health 12:1371938. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2024.1371938

Received: 17 January 2024; Accepted: 26 January 2024; Published: 06 February 2024.

Edited and reviewed by: Christiane Stock , Corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany

Copyright © 2024 Granero-Molina, Ruiz-Fernández, Fernández-Medina, Núñez-Nagy and Suazo Galdames. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) . The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: José Granero-Molina, jgranero@ual.es

Disclaimer: All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article or claim that may be made by its manufacturer is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.

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