What is qualitative research and what can it contribute to palliative care?

Clark, D. (1997) What is qualitative research and what can it contribute to palliative care? Palliative Medicine, 11(2), pp. 159-166. (doi:10.1177/026921639701100211)

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Following a rather shaky start, the use of qualitative methods is now gaining increased acceptance within the field of health research. Further progress will have to be made, however, before qualitative research can enjoy the status and respect of other approaches which rely more on techniques of quantification and measurement. It is therefore important to gain a proper understanding of what qualitative methods can contribute to health research, including some agreement on what constitutes rigorous work in this field. Certainly qualitative research seems to hold out a number of possibilities within the area of palliative care. This paper therefore seeks both to map out something of the history, development and content of qualitative methods, whilst also suggesting ways in which such methods might be used in the service of palliative care research. It will be argued, however,that qualitative research cannot be judged simply as a set of techniques for data collection and analysis. It also comprises a particular way of seeing and a framework for a certain kind of research ethics in which subjective experience is acknowledged and harnessed. Accordingly, it presents researchers with a wide range of practical, political and moral dilemmas - some of which do not arise within other research traditions. Such an argument reveals that, despite lingering claims to the contrary, qualitative methods are no ’soft’ option

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Clark, Professor David
Authors: Clark, D.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Journal Name:Palliative Medicine
Journal Abbr.:Palliat. Med.
Publisher:Sage Publications Ltd.
ISSN (Online):1477-030X

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