Friday, 25 April 2014

What is qualitative research?

In addition to seeing what research evidence already exists about the use of knee orthotics by people with neuromuscular diseases, we are undertaking a qualitative study.

Qualitative research is used when we are interested in understanding how people make sense of their world and the experiences they have. Most qualitative research studies are small scale, focusing on a relatively small number of cases. However they provide depth and detail in the context of the chosen setting; this is sometimes referred to as ‘rich description’. Qualitative studies tend to focus on words rather than numbers. Qualitative research includes a range of methods, such as interviews, focus groups, direct observation, and analysis of texts and documents, or of audio/video recorded speech or behaviour.

For this project we will be undertaking interviews with people who have a neuromuscular disease and an orthotic device for knee instability. We are especially interested in finding out what people think are the most important measures of the success of an orthotic device – what is important to them as individuals. We also plan to run some focus groups with a small number of people who have the same neuromuscular condition. This will provide additional detail on outcomes and factors of interest across a number of common neuromuscular diseases.

Blogger: Dorothy McCaughan

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