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Qualitative Methods for Health Research

Qualitative Methods for Health Research

Fourth Edition
Additional resources:

March 2018 | 440 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

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Packed with practical advice and research quick tips, this book is the perfect companion to your health research project. It not only explains the theory of qualitative health research so you can interpret the studies of others, but also showcases how to approach, start, maintain, and disseminate your own research. 

It will help you:

  • Understand the role of the researcher
  • Develop an effective research proposal
  • Seek ethical approval
  • Conduct interviews, observational studies, mixed methods, and web-based designs
  • Use secondary and digital sources
  • Code, manage, and analyse data
  • Write up your results

Whether you are studying public health, sports medicine, occupational therapy, nursing, midwifery, or another health discipline, the authors will be your surrogate supervisors and guide you through evaluating or undertaking any type of health research. 

Judith Green is Professor of Sociology of Health at King’s College London.

Nicki Thorogood is Programme Director, DrPH, at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. 

Part I: Principles and Approaches in Qualitative Health Research
Chapter 1: Qualitative Methodology in Health Research
What is qualitative research?  
Qualitative research and evidence based practice  
The orientations of qualitative research  
Some assumptions about qualitative research  
Chapter 2: The Role of Theory
Macro theory  
Middle range theory  
Theories of knowledge  
Chapter 3: Developing Qualitative Research Proposals
Research questions  
Selecting appropriate study designs  
Pragmatic influences on research design  
A qualitative approach to design  
Writing a research proposal  
Sampling strategies  
Chapter 4: Responsibilities, Ethics and Values
Values in research  
Ethical review and codes of practice  
Informed consent  
Responsibilities to research participants  
Ethical dilemmas and conflicts  
Responsibilities to yourself and co-workers  
Responsibilities to commissioners and the public  
Part II: Generating Data
Chapter 5: In-depth Interviews
The research interview  
A word on language  
Language and translation  
What interviews can and can’t do  
Asking questions and listening to answers  
Context and data  
Planning interviews  
Using visual methods in interviews  
Chapter 6: Group Interviews and Discussions
An overview of different kinds of groups used in qualitative research  
Consensus panels  
Community interviews and participatory methods  
Focus group discussions  
Natural groups  
Advantages of using group interviews  
Planning group interview studies  
Chapter 7: Observational Methods
Participation and observation  
Ethnography and medical anthropology  
Ethnographies of medicine, health and health care  
Managing fieldwork roles  
Planning an ethnographic study  
Rapid ethnographic methods  
Using participation and observation in interviews  
Non-participant observation  
Chapter 8: Using Secondary Sources
Why use existing sources?  
Public records  
Personal documents  
Mass media outputs  
Research outputs  
Policy reports  
Material artefacts  
Methodological issues in using documentary sources  
Chapter 9: Qualitative Research in a Digital Age
Questions about health, health care and technology  
Researching virtual sites  
Recruitment on line: social media  
Technology platforms as part of the context of data generation  
Ethical issues in digital research  
Dissemination and knowledge exchange  
Part III: Managing and Analysing Data
Chapter 10: Beginning Data Analysis
Styles of analysis  
Aims of analysis  
Data preparation and management  
Qualitative description  
Thematic content analysis  
Framework analysis  
Reliability and validity  
Computer aided qualitative analysis  
Chapter 11: Developing Qualitative Analysis
Rigour is not enough  
Discourse analysis  
Grounded theory  
Narrative analysis  
Beyond talk and text  
Some strategies for thinking more analytically  
Generalizability and transferability  
Part IV: Qualitative Research in Practice
Chapter 12: Integrating Methods, Designs and Disciplines
Rationales for mixing methods within qualitative studies  
Combining qualitative and quantitative designs  
Qualitative research within evaluative designs  
Combining designs in practice  
Developing trans-disciplinary research  
Enhancing collaboration  
Chapter 13: Reading, Appraising and Integrating Qualitative Research
Reading critically  
Formal critical appraisal for empirical studies  
Criteria in ethnography  
Systematic reviews  
Integrating qualitative findings  
Chapter 14: Dissemination: reaching and engaging with audiences
The writing process  
Writing for different audiences  
Writing for health journals  
Writing for social science colleagues  
Practical issues to consider when writing research reports  
Dissemination from collaborative projects  
Communicating with non-specialist audiences  

This book is the clear and extensive introduction to qualitative health research. It is useful for all under and post graduate students, and even for PhDs with quantitative background.

Kirsi Lumme-Sandt
Health Sciences, University of Tampere

A thoughtful, thorough and readable account of the history and current practice of qualitative research in health. 

Louise Keogh
Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne

An enormously helpful resource for anyone interested in interpreting and conducting qualitative health research. In addition to describing complex social theory in an easily digestible style, it also provides a practical ‘how to’ guide for all the stages of qualitative data collection, analysis and dissemination. Filled with useful examples, it brings qualitative health research to life in a way that is both engaging and highly accessible. It is a must read for students and experienced scholars alike!

Sara Cooper
School of Public Health & Family Medicine, University of Cape Town

This new edition of Green and Thorogood’s excellent textbook should be required reading for health professionals considering undertaking qualitative research. Along with a practical introduction to the theory and methods of qualitative research, this revised edition expands on the importance of theory for qualitative research, the use of secondary sources and digital methods in data collection and the integration of methods, disciplines and designs within research. It continues to be a core text for any qualitative methods training for students in health and related disciplines. 

Stephen Clayton
Global and Public Health, Edge Hill University

An informative introduction to qualitative research with practical advice and real-world examples.

Mrs Marie Molloy
Dept Nursing & Primary Care Practice, Liverpool John Moores University
May 10, 2018

An excellent resource for graduate and post graduate students in health research.

Dr Elfrieda Fleischmann
Geography and research, Cedar College
April 6, 2018

I enjoyed reading this. Its an excellent practical book that helped organise and conduct qualitative research, safe in the knowledge that the project would be robust and credible. It also serves a s a useful reference for supervision.

Mr Brian McGowan
School of Nursing (Magee Campus), Ulster University
March 10, 2018

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