Global Qualitative Health Research

Emerging issues in qualitative health research

Global Qualitative Health Research Seminar

May 15, 2019


0830:  Introduction and Welcome – Karin Olson

8:40-9:00   Ready to meet the challenge? Qualitative Inquiry and the rise of algorithmic based health care and selves.

Julianne Cheek, Østfold University College.

Increasingly algorithms, using de-contextualised data traces (big data), make calculations, resolve problems and reach decisions about health related matters. Actions are then taken on the basis of the algorithmic self(s) produced by those calculations. For example, who gets what heath care and why, who gets information about that health care and what they use it for. Sometimes algorithmic calculations can get it right and be very wrong. They can only ever provide partial answers to complex health related matters. As a qualitative research community it is our duty and responsibility to actively contribute to the development of health care that combines the power of algorithms and the wisdom and experience of people. Are we up to that challenge?

9:00-9:20 Secondary Qualitative Data Analysis in Health Research

Cheryl Beck

University of Connecticut

What a benefit for qualitative researchers to maximize the use of a primary dataset to answer new research questions relevant to the phenomenon originally studied. The advantages and challenges of secondary qualitative analysis are addressed along with ethical issues. Also described are the typologies of secondary qualitative analysis with examples of studies from various disciplines. Explored is the process involved in conducting this type of analysis starting with the research questions and ending with archiving the dataset. Secondary qualitative analyses the presenter has published are presented as examples of the use of one primary dataset for metaphor analysis of posttraumatic stress disorder due to traumatic childbirth and the use of parts of two primary datasets for a comparison of labor and delivery nurses’ and mothers’ experiences of a shoulder dystocia birth.

9:20 – 9-40  Attending to Technologies in Qualitative Health Research

Michael van Mane

University of Alberta, Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine

Our world is filled with technologies. Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, technologies form the background, context, and medium of our lives. Although qualitative researchers have the opportunity to understand, evaluate, and contribute to the design of technologies, there remains a relative paucity of health technology research. This is in spite of the fact that technologies may contribute in varied ways to the practices of health professionals and the wellbeing of patient-families. In this session, we will discuss the possibility for timely qualitative health research that addresses contemporary technologies yet is still ultimately concerned with meaningful human experiences.

9:40-10:00 Increasing the Power of Qualitative Inquiry Using Meta Maps

Janice Morse

University of Utah

Qualitative researchers are reluctant to theorize “beyond” their project or to anticipate results of their project prior to conducting the research. Yet fear of violating the inductive process by “leading” and invalidating the research, actually restricts the theoretical development of the product by keeping the results descriptively narrow and close to the data. Consequently, our research loses impact, interpretive power, and the ability to persuade funding organizations to support our work, even before we get to the starting gate. In this presentation, I discuss the use of meta maps as a means of situating qualitative inquiry projects throughout the process of inquiry. Meta maps are the bold conceptualization of the completed project, before the research has been conducted. They give the researcher the ability to project and articulate the possible significance and outcomes of the project, before the project is launched. At the proposal stage, meta maps enable the identification of appropriate theoretical perspectives for analysis and interpretation of data, and to imagine the tentative outcome and utility of the results. During analysis meta maps they enable the comparison of the emerging concepts and theory with the theoretical development of others’ projects, hence provide strong evidence regarding the contribution of the present project, it’s contribution to knowledge, and the anticipated utility of the results. In other words, meta maps place the project tentatively within the literature and practice, before the commencement of the research. The myopic adherence to one’s own data, without considering the significance of the emerging project and context is avoided.

10:00-10:20 Break

10:20-11:00 The significance of qualitative research to advance community collaborative inquiry and promote health equity

Michele Kelley

University of Illinois

Qualitative research is being utilized more often by scholars in interdisciplinary public health

sciences to promote health equity. As the mission of public health is *the fulfilment of society’s interest in assuring the conditions in which people can be healthy” (National Academy of Sciences, 1988); and as public health ethics requires community participation in matters that impact the health of the community, qualitative research is well-suited for collaborative inquiry into the social determinants of health, and access to healthcare. This presentation elucidates the ways in which qualitative research can inform action to promote conditions toward population level health equity.

11:00 – 11:20 Framing Qualitative Health Research Results: Categories and Themes

Lauren Clark, College of Nursing, University of Utah

Janice M. Morse, College of Nursing, University of Utah

Qualitative health research most often reports results as themes and models that connect themes.  In some cases, researchers may frame their results as themes when they may be more accurately characterized as categories. Confusion about categories and themes introduces incongruence with interview structure and violations of methodological principles. This problem is most evident in grounded theory, which uses both categories and themes in the development of theory.

We propose that researchers can anticipate the form of their results when they frame their research question and elaborate their methods. Researchers can unapologetically frame results as concepts or categories rather than full-fledged themes. In our presentation, we review the key differences between categories, concepts, and themes for theory development. We propose ways qualitative health researchers can assure congruence between methods and results and hence validity of results. Finally, we illustrate category- and theme-based results from recently published research.

11:20 – 11:40 Lessons learned regarding the collection and management of large qualitative data sets

 Karin Olson

University of Alberta, Faculty of Nursing

Some qualitative studies require the collection of large data sets.  I am in the midst of an ethnographic study of shared decision making in community – based settings in Alberta.  The target population is adults with symptoms of anxiety and depression.  Because there is some concern that the delivery of health services varies across the province and that it differs between urban and rural settings, data are being collected at 52 different clinical settings.   In this presentation I will briefly trace our experience in recruiting and training data collectors, and in securely gathering, storing, and analysing large quantitative and qualitative data sets.  I will also discuss our plans for data preservation once our study is finished.


11:40-12:00:  Synthesizing the processes and findings of qualitative studies 

Michele McIntosh

Trent University

Like meta-analysis in the quantitative paradigm, qualitative meta-synthesis intends to aggregate findings for the purpose of informing practice.  Other scholars have advised against overlooking the context of qualitative studies in this pursuit. In a similar vein, I will, in this paper, emphasize the importance of both the process and the findings of qualitative inquiry to exquisite nursing practice: the latter needs to be evidence informed, but also requires a capacity for interpretation, embodied knowing, and emotional responsiveness to the individual patient in their unique context. The teaching of qualitative health research in nursing curriculum cultivates these skills.

12:00-1:00 Lunch

1:00-3:30 Panel:  Publishing Qualitative Research

Moderator:  Mitch Allen

1:00-1:20   The process and pitfalls of publishing articles.

Janice Morse, University of Utah, Editor, QHR

1:20-1:40 Methodologicaldissemination by via texts and handbooks.

Cheryl Beck, University of Connecticut, Editor & author

1:40-2:00 Issues in translating research for publication in English

Seung Eun Chung, Korea National University of Transportation, Korea

2:00-2:20 Publishing qualitative books

Hannah Shakespeare, Senior editor, Routledge, UK

2:20-2:40 Break

2:40-3:10 The scope of qualitative health research/Qualitative Health Research: Where are we? Where are we going?  Julianne Cheek, Østfold University College, Norway; Karin Olson, University of Alberta; Lauren Clark, University of Utah; Michael van Manen, University of Alberta:  QHR Associate editors

3:10-3:30 General discussion

3:30-4:00 Concluding Remarks:  Janice Morse