A Guide to Use Qualitative Research

Decent Essays
A Guide to Using

Qualitative Research Methodology

© 2002 Michael Quinn Patton and Michael Cochran

Reproduced with kind permission of Michael Quinn Patton

Executive Summary This guide to using qualitative research methodology is designed to help you think about all the steps you need to take to ensure that you produce a good quality piece of work. The guide starts by telling you what qualitative methodology is and when to use it in the field (understand people’s belief system, perspectives, experiences). It also flags the most important ethical issues that you will encounter (consent and confidentiality). The second part of the guide tackles how you can concretely develop qualitative research designs; starting from clearly
…show more content…
For instance, if you want to lobby for better access to health care in an area where user fees have been introduced, you might first undertake a cross-sectional survey which will tell you that 16.5% of your population does not have access to care. This is essential information, but you might also have a number of other questions that the survey can’t answer very well, such as: what are people’s experiences of user fees? what other barriers exist to accessing health care? These can be addressed through qualitative methods such as interviews or focus groups. If the final report is to be used for lobbying, the quantitative data and qualitative data together are very powerful. The survey identifies the extent of the problem, and the interviews can be used to give some of the detail, and the ‘story’ of how user fees have affected people. In situations where little is known, it is often better to start with qualitative methods (interviews, focus groups, etc). It can help you with generating hypotheses that can then be tested by quantitative methods. For instance, in an area where we had no idea what kinds of issue were acting as barriers to health care, it would be difficult to design a survey to cover the main factors. Once these have been identified, then a quantitative approach (such as a survey) can be used if you need

(Albert Einstein)


(b) When to use qualitative
Get Access