Qualitative Health Research provides an international, interdisciplinary forum to enhance health and health care and further the development and understanding of qualitative health research. The journal is an invaluable resource for researchers and academics, administrators and others in the health and social service professions, and graduates, who seek examples of studies in which the authors used qualitative methodologies. Each issue of Qualitative Health Research provides readers with a wealth of information on conceptual, theoretical, methodological, and ethical issues pertaining to qualitative inquiry.
A Variety of Perspectives
We encourage submissions across all health-related areas and disciplines. Qualitative Health Research understands health in its broadest sense and values contributions from various traditions of qualitative inquiry. As a journal of SAGE Publishing, Qualitative Health Research aspires to disseminate high-quality research and engaged scholarship globally, and we are committed to diversity and inclusion in publishing. We encourage submissions from a diverse range of authors from across all countries and backgrounds. There are no fees payable to submit or publish in Qualitative Health Research.
Original, Timely, and Insightful Scholarship
Qualitative Health Research aspires to publish articles addressing significant and contemporary health-related issues. Only manuscripts of sufficient originality and quality that align with the aims and scope of Qualitative Health Research will be reviewed. As part of the submission process authors are required to warrant that they are submitting original work, that they have the rights in the work, that they have obtained, and that can supply all necessary permissions for the reproduction of any copyright works not owned by them, and that they 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 note that Qualitative Health Research does not accept submissions of papers that have been published elsewhere. Sage requires authors to identify preprints upon submission (see https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/preprintsfaq).
This Journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).
This Journal recommends that authors follow the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals formulated by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).
Qualitative Health Research is an international, interdisciplinary, refereed journal for the enhancement of health care and to further the development and understanding of qualitative research methods in health care settings. We welcome manuscripts in the following areas: the description and analysis of the illness experience, health and health-seeking behaviors, the experiences of caregivers, the sociocultural organization of health care, health care policy, and related topics. We also seek critical reviews and commentaries addressing conceptual, theoretical, methodological, and ethical issues pertaining to qualitative enquiry.
|Julianne Cheek, PhD||Østfold University College, Norway|
|Megan Aston, PhD||Dalhousie University School of Nursing, Canada|
|Karin Olson, PhD, RN, FAAN||University of Alberta, Canada|
|Michael van Manen, MD, PhD, FRCPC||University of Alberta, Canada|
|Sabine Caillaud, PhD||Université Lumière Lyon 2, France|
|Engle Angela Chan, RN, PhD||The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong|
|Cesar A. Cisneros Puebla||University of Tarapaca, Chile|
|Catherine Cook, PhD, RN||Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand|
|Nathalia Cordeiro da Costa||The University of Sydney, Australia|
|Johanna Creswell Báez, PhD, LCSW||University of Colorado, USA|
|S. Nombuso Dlamini||York University, Canada|
|Hadass Goldblatt, PhD||University of Haifa, Israel|
|Phillip Joy, PhD, RD||Mount Saint Vincent University, Canada|
|Truls I. Juritzen, PhD, RN||University of South-Eastern Norway, Norway|
|Gael J. Mearns||Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand|
|Rebecca E. Olson, PhD||University of Queensland, Australia|
|Joy Pierce, PhD||University of Utah, USA|
|Kumar Ravi Priya||Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India|
|Kristen Reynolds||University of Manitoba, Canada|
|Judy Siu, PhD, MPhil, BSSc||Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong|
|Jonathan A Smith, DPhil||Birkbeck University of London, UK|
|Tricia Nichola Stephens, LCSW-R, Ph.D||Hunter College - Silberman School of Social Work, New York, NY|
|Janice M. Morse, PhD, FAAN||University of Utah, USA|
|Mitchell Allen, PhD||UC Berkeley, USA|
|Sharlene Nagy Hesse-Biber, PhD||Boston College, USA|
|Joan L. Bottorff, PhD, RN, FCAHS, FAAN||University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus, Canada|
|Svend Brinkmann, PhD||Aalborg University, Denmark|
|Seung Eun Chung, PhD, RN||Korea National University of Transportation, South Korea|
|Adele Clarke, PhD||University of California, San Francisco, USA|
|Benjamin F. Crabtree, PhD||Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, USA|
|Susan Crowther||AUT University Auckland, New Zealand|
|Uwe Flick||Freie Universtität Berlin, Germany|
|Juliet Foster||Kings College London|
|Arthur W. Frank, Ph.D, FRSC||University of Calgary, Canada|
|Kathleen Galvin||University of Brighton, UK|
|Guendalina Graffigna, PhD||Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan, Italy|
|Jori N. Hall||University of Georgia, USA|
|Robert D. Hall, PhD||Utah Tech University, USA|
|Eleanor Holroyd, PhD, RN||Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand|
|Susan James, PhD||Laurentian University, Canada|
|Pranee Liamputtong, PhD||VinUniversity, Vietnam|
|Deborah Lupton||University of New South Wales, Australia|
|Maria Mayan, PhD||University of Alberta, Canada|
|David L. Morgan, PhD||Portland State University, USA|
|Isabella Nizza, PhD||Birkbeck University of London, UK|
|John Oliffe, PhD, MEd, RN||University of British Columbia, Canada|
|Carole A. Robinson, PhD||University of British Columbia, Canada|
|Bukola (Oladunni) Salami, RN, MN, PhD||Professor in the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada|
|Kyung Rim Shin, EdD||Ewha Woman's University, South Korea|
|Massimiliano Tarozzi, PhD||University of Bologna, Italy|
|Earmporn Thongkrajai, RN, PhD||Khon Kaen University, Thailand|
|Sally E. Thorne, PhD||University of British Columbia, Canada|
|Max van Manen, PhD||University of Alberta, Canada|
|Judith Wuest, PhD||University of New Brunswick, Canada|
Manuscript submission guidelines:
Qualitative Health Research (QHR) has specific guidelines! While Sage Publishing has general guidelines, all manuscripts submitted to QHR must follow our specific guidelines (found below). Once you have reviewed these guidelines, please visit QHR’s submission site to upload your manuscript. Please note that manuscripts not conforming to these guidelines will be returned and/or encounter delays in peer review. Remember you can log in to the submission site at any time to check on the progress of your manuscript throughout the peer review process.
1.1 Aims & scope
1.2 Article types
3.1 Title page
1.1 Aims & scope
QHR provides an international, interdisciplinary forum to enhance health and health care and further the development and understanding of qualitative health research. The journal is an invaluable resource for researchers and academics, administrators and others in the health and social service professions, and graduates, who seek examples of studies in which the authors used qualitative methodologies. Each issue of QHR provides readers with a wealth of information on conceptual, theoretical, methodological, and ethical issues pertaining to qualitative inquiry.
Rather than send query letters to the Editor regarding article fit, QHR asks authors to make their own decision regarding the suitability of their manuscript for QHR by asking: Does your proposed submission make a meaningful and strong contribution to qualitative health research literature? Is it useful to readers and/or practitioners?
1.2 Article types
The following manuscript types are considered for publication.
- Original Research Studies: These are fully developed qualitative research studies. This may include mixed method studies in which the major focus/portion of the study is qualitative research. Please read Maintaining the Integrity of Qualitatively Driven Mixed Methods: Avoiding the “This Work is Part of a Larger Study” Syndrome.
- Pearls, Piths, and Provocations: These manuscripts should foster discussion and debate about significant issues, enhance communication of methodological advances, promote and discuss issues related to the teaching of qualitative approaches in health contexts, and/or encourage the discussion of new and/or provocative ideas. They should also make clear what the manuscript adds to the existing body of knowledge in the area.
- Editorials: These are generally invited articles written by editors/editorial board members associated with QHR.
Please note, QHR does NOT publish pilot studies. We do not normally publish literature reviews unless they focus on qualitative research studies elaborating methodological issues and developments. Review articles should be submitted to the Pearls, Piths, and Provocations section. They are reviewed according to criteria in 2.2.
2.1 Original research
Reviewers are asked to consider the following areas and questions when making recommendations about research manuscripts:
- Importance of submission: Does the manuscript make a significant contribution to qualitative health research literature? Is it original? Relevant? In depth? Insightful? Is it useful to the reader and/or practitioner?
- Methodological considerations: Is the overall study design clearly explained including why this design was an appropriate one? Are the methodology/methods/approaches used in keeping with that design? Are they appropriate given the research question and/or aims? Are they logically articulated? Clarity in design and presentation? Data adequacy and appropriateness? Evidence of rigor?
- Ethical Concerns: Are relevant ethical concerns discussed and acknowledged? Is enough detail given to enable the reader to understand how ethical issues were navigated? Has formal IRB approval (when needed) and consent from participants been obtained?
- Data analysis, findings, discussion: Does the analysis of data reflect depth and coherence? In-depth descriptive but also interpretive dimensions? Creative and insightful analysis? Are results linked to existing literature and theory, as appropriate? Is the contribution of the research clear including its relevance to health disciplines and their practice?
- Manuscript style and format: Is the manuscript organized in a clear and concise manner? Has sufficient attention been paid to word choice, spelling, grammar, and so forth? Did the author adhere to APA guidelines? Do diagrams/illustrations comply with guidelines? Is the overall manuscript aligned with QHR guidelines in relation to formatting?
- Scope: Does the article fit with QHR’s publication mandate? Has the author cited the major work in the area, including those published in QHR?
2.2 Pearls, Piths, and Provocations
The purpose of papers in this section is to raise and discuss issues pertinent to the development and advancement of qualitative research in health-related arenas. As the name Pearls, Piths, and Provocations suggests, we are looking for manuscripts that make a significant contribution to areas of dialogue, development, experience sharing and debate relevant to the scope of QHR in this section of the journal. Reviewers are asked to consider the following questions when making recommendations about articles in the Pearls, Piths, and Provocations section.
- Significance: Does the paper highlight issues that have the potential to advance, develop, and/or challenge thinking in qualitative health related research?
- Clarity: Are the arguments clearly presented and well supported?
- Rigor: Is there the explicit use of/interaction with methodology and/or theory and/or empirical studies (depending on the focus of the paper) that grounds the work and is coherently carried throughout the arguments and/or analysis in the manuscript? Put another way, is there evidence of a rigorously constructed argument?
- Engagement: Does the paper have the potential to engage the reader to ‘think differently’ by raising questions, suggesting innovative directions for qualitative health research, and/or stimulating critical reflection? Are the implications of the paper for the practice of either qualitative research and/or health clear?
- Quality of the writing: Is the main argument of the paper clearly articulated and presented with few grammatical or typographical issues? Are terms and concepts key to the scholarship communicated clearly and in sufficient detail?
2.3 Common reasons for rejection
QHR most commonly turns away manuscripts that fall outside the journal’s scope, do not make a novel contribution to the literature, lack substantive and/or interpretative depth, require extensive revisions, and/or do not adequately address ethical issues that are fundamental to qualitative inquiry. Submissions of the supplementary component of mixed methods studies often are rejected as the findings are difficult to interpret without the findings of the primary study. For additional information on this policy, please read Maintaining the Integrity of Qualitatively Driven Mixed Methods: Avoiding the “This Work is Part of a Larger Study” Syndrome.
3. Preparing your manuscript for submission
We strongly encourage all authors to review previously published articles in QHR for style prior to submission.
QHR journal practices include double anonymization. All identifying information MUST be removed completely from the Abstract, Manuscript, Acknowledgements, Tables, and Figure files prior to submission. ONLY the Title Page and Cover Letter may contain identifying information. See Sage’s general submission guidelines for additional guidance on making an anonymous submission.
Preferred formats for the text and tables of your manuscript are Word DOC or PDF. The text must be double-spaced throughout with standard 1-inch margins (APA formatting). Text should be standard font (i.e., Times New Roman) 12-point.
- The Title page should be uploaded as a separate document containing the following information: Author names; Affiliations; Author contact information; Contribution list; and, Acknowledgement, Funding Statement, and Conflict of Interest Statements, Grant Number, Ethical Committee as applicable. Please know that the Title Page is NOT included in the materials sent out for Peer Review.
3.2 Abstract and Keywords
- The Abstract should be unstructured, written in narrative form. Maximum of 250 words. This should be on its own page, appearing as the first page of the Main Manuscript file.
- The keywords should be included beneath the abstract on the Main Manuscript file.
- Length: 8,000 words or less excluding the abstract, list of references, and acknowledgements. Please note that text from Tables and Figures is included in the word count limits. On-line supplementary materials are not included in the word limit.
- Structure: While many authors will choose to use headings of Background, Methods, Results, and Discussion to organize their manuscript, it is up to authors to choose the most appropriate terms and structure for their submission. It is the expectation that manuscripts contain detailed reflections on methodological considerations.
- Ethics: Relevant ethical concerns should be discussed and acknowledged. In studies where data collection or other methods present ethical challenges, the authors should explicate how such issues were navigated including how consent was gained and by whom. In addition, an ethical statement must include the following: the full name of the ethical board that approved your study; the approval number given by the ethical board; and, confirmation that all your participants gave informed consent. Authors are also required to state in the methods section whether participants provided informed consent, whether the consent was written or verbal, and how it was obtained and by whom. For example: “Our study was approved by The Mercy Health Research Ethics Committee (approval no. XYZ123). All participants provided written informed consent prior to enrollment in the study.” During peer review this information should be blinded within the manuscript itself. If your study did not need ethical approval (often manuscripts in the Pearls, Piths, and Provocations may not), we still need a statement that states that your study did not need approval and an explanation as to why. For example: “Ethical Statement: Our study did not require an ethical board approval because it did not directly involve humans or animals.”
- Participant identification: Generally, demographics should be described in narrative form or otherwise reported as a group. Quotations may be linked to particular participants and/or demographic features provided measures are taken to ensure anonymity of participants (e.g., use of pseudonyms).
- Use of checklists: Authors should not include qualitative research checklists, such as COREQ (COnsolidated criteria for REporting Qualitative research). Generally, authors should use a narrative approach to describe the processes used to enhance the rigor of their study. For additional information on this policy, please read Why the Qualitative Health Research (QHR) Review Process Does Not Use Checklists
- References: APA format. While there is no limit to the number of references, authors are recommended to use pertinent references only, including literature previously published in QHR. References should be on a separate page. QHR adheres to the APA 7 reference style. View the APA guidelines to ensure your manuscript conforms to this reference style. Please ensure you check carefully that both your in-text references and list of references are in the correct format.
- Authors are required to disclose the use of generative Artificial Intelligence (such as ChatGPT) and other technologies (such as NVivo, ATLAS. Ti, Quirkos, etc.), whether used to conceive ideas, develop study design, generate data, assist in analysis, present study findings, or other activities formative of qualitative research. We suggest authors provide both a description of the technology, when it was accessed, and how it was used (see https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/chatgpt-and-generative-ai).
- Manuscripts that receive favorable reviews will not be accepted until any formatting and copy-editing required has been done.
3.4 Tables, Figures, Artwork, and other graphics
- Tables, Figures, Artwork, and other graphics should be submitted as separate files rather than incorporated into the main manuscript file. Within the manuscript, indicate where these items should appear (i.e. INSERT TABLE 1 HERE).
- In general, identifying features should not be contained within images. For example, in photographs faces should generally be concealed using mosaic patches – unless permission has been given by the individual to use their identity. This permission must be included at the time of submission.
- TIFF, JPED, or common picture formats accepted. The preferred format for graphs and line art is EPS.
- Resolution: Rasterized based files (i.e. with .tiff or .jpeg extension) require a resolution of at least 300 dpi (dots per inch). Line art should be supplied with a minimum resolution of 800 dpi.
- Dimension: Check that the artworks supplied match or exceed the dimensions of the journal. Images cannot be scaled up after origination.
- Figures supplied in color will appear in color online regardless of whether or not these illustrations are reproduced in color in the printed version. For specifically requested color reproduction in print, you will receive information regarding the costs from Sage after receipt of your accepted article.
3.5 Supplemental material
- Core elements of the manuscript should not be included as supplementary material.
- QHR is able to host additional materials online (e.g., datasets, podcasts, videos, images etc.) alongside the full-text of the article. For more information please refer to Sage’s general guidelines on submitting supplemental files.
4. Submitting your manuscript
QHR is hosted on Sage Track, a web based online submission and peer review system powered by ScholarOne™ Manuscripts. Visit https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/QHR 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.
5.1 Peer review policy
QHR adheres to a rigorous double-anonymized reviewing policy in which the identities of both the reviewer and author are always concealed from both parties.
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 manuscript 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 manuscript
• 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).
Qualitative Health Research is committed to delivering high quality, fast peer-review for your manuscript, and as such has partnered with Web of Science. Web of Science is a third-party service that seeks to track, verify and give credit for peer review. Reviewers for Qualitative Health Research can opt in to Web of Science in order to claim their reviews or have them automatically verified and added to their reviewer profile. Reviewers claiming credit for their review will be associated with the relevant journal, but the article name, reviewer’s decision, and the content of their review is not published on the site. For more information visit the Web of Science website.
The Editor or members of the Editorial Team or Board may occasionally submit their own manuscripts for possible publication in the Journal. In these cases, the peer review process will be managed by alternative members of the Editorial Team or Board and the submitting Editor Team/Board member will have no involvement in the decision-making process.
Manuscripts should only be submitted for consideration once consent is given by all contributing authors. Those submitting manuscripts should carefully check that all those whose work contributed to the manuscript are acknowledged as contributing authors. The list of authors should include all those who can legitimately claim authorship. This is all those who meet all of the following criteria:
(i) Made a substantial contribution to the design of the work or acquisition, analysis, interpretation, or presentation of data,
(ii) Drafted the article or revised it critically for important intellectual content,
(iii) Approved the version to be published,
(iv) Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content.
Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group alone does not constitute authorship, although all contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in the Acknowledgments section. Please refer to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) authorship guidelines for more information on authorship.
Authors are required to disclose the use of generative Artificial Intelligence (such as ChatGPT) and other technologies (such as NVivo, ATLAS. Ti, Quirkos, etc.), whether used to conceive ideas, develop study design, generate data, assist in analysis, present study findings, or other activities formative of qualitative research. We suggest authors provide both a description of the technology, when it was accessed, and how it was used. This needs to be clearly identified within the text and acknowledged within your Acknowledgements section. Please note that AI bots such as ChatGPT should not be listed as an author. For more details on this policy, please visit ChatGPT and Generative AI.
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.
Please supply any personal acknowledgements separately to the main text to facilitate anonymous peer review.
Per ICMJE recommendations, it is best practice to obtain consent from non-author contributors who you are acknowledging in your manuscript.
1.3.1 Writing assistance
Individuals who provided writing assistance, e.g., from a specialist communications company, do not qualify as authors and so should be included in the Acknowledgements section. Authors must disclose any writing assistance – including the individual’s name, company and level of input – and identify the entity that paid for this assistance. It is not necessary to disclose use of language polishing services.
Qualitative Health 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.
5.5 Declaration of conflicting interests
It is the policy of Qualitative Health Research to require a declaration of conflicting interests from all authors enabling a statement to be carried within the paginated pages of all published articles.
Please ensure that a ‘Declaration of Conflicting Interests’ statement is included at the end of your manuscript, after any acknowledgements and prior to the references. If no conflict exists, please state that ‘The Author(s) declare(s) that there is no conflict of interest’. For guidance on conflict of interest statements, please see the ICMJE recommendations here.
5.6 Research ethics and participant consent
Research involving participants must be conducted according to the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki
Submitted manuscripts should conform to the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals:
All manuscripts must state that the relevant Ethics Committee or Institutional Review Board provided (or waived) approval. Please ensure that you blind the name and institution of the review committee until such time as your article has been accepted. The Editor will request authors to replace the name and add the approval number once the article review has been completed. Please note that in itself, simply stating that Ethics Committee or Institutional Review was obtained is not sufficient. Authors are also required to state in the methods section whether participants provided informed consent, whether the consent was written or verbal, and how it was obtained and by whom.
Please do not submit the participant’s informed consent documents with your article, as this in itself breaches the participant’s confidentiality. The Journal requests that you confirm to us, in writing, that you have obtained informed consent recognizing the documentation of consent itself should be held by the authors/investigators themselves (for example, in a participant’s hospital record or an author’s institution’s archives).
Please also refer to the ICMJE Recommendations for the Protection of Research Participants.
6.1 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.
Qualitative Health Research and Sage take issues of copyright infringement, plagiarism or other breaches of best practice in publication very seriously. The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) defines plagiarism as: “When somebody presents the work of others (data, words or theories) as if they were his/her own and without proper acknowledgment.” 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.
6.1.2 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.
6.2 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 of 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.
6.3 Open access and author archiving
Qualitative Health 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.