The importance of Qualitative Health Research

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Qualitative health research is often spoken of along with the quantitative health research. While there are numerous advantages of quantitative health research, like producing factual data and ready to work analysis of a situation, qualitative health research has considerable importance too. In this post, we shall thoroughly discuss about the qualitative methods which can be implemented for health research.

A majority of the research techniques implemented in the health sector are same as those in social sciences. However, there are significant sectors in which qualitative research in health sector is different. Research produced in health sector is increasingly being taken up from teams with multidisciplinary backgrounds. Qualitative health research is, therefore, routinely questioned for legitimacy. Anyways, the traits for good research are same across all the disciplines.

Qualitative health research

Meaning of Qualitative Research

Before we talk more about qualitative health research, it seems logical that we understand the meaning of the term. Health research in general addresses the understanding of human health and health behavior. Many instances define qualitative research in contrast to quantitative research. However, this sort of differentiation has not been very fruitful. Many qualitative data tends to use frequency counts (numerical figures) while many quantitative research data use language descriptions. The major sector in which qualitative research is different from quantitative approach is the way in which data is collected. While the major mode of data collection in qualitative health research is through interviews and observations, quantitative health research tends to go about it via direct measurements.

Another key feature of qualitative health research is that it focuses on answering questions like ‘what’ and ‘how’ rather than ‘how much’. Also the explanations in qualitative health research are more inclined towards being more subjective rather than being objective.

Turning to Qualitative Health research

Maintaining good health and dealing with the problem of ill health are the key problems in qualitative health research. The chief practice of qualitative health research is to integrate insights from social sciences and connect with the understanding of the human health. The chief reason of turning to qualitative health research is because of the similarity between its techniques and those of the subjects like sociology, anthropology and history. The similarity between these disciplines is the central role played by human behavior. Since health care also has considerable influence from human behavior, it seems logical to use qualitative research in health care.

What does ‘health research’ include?

There are two broad categories in which health research can be divided into.

- ‘of’ Health– this category of health research consists of questions like the meaning of health, and how health can be managed. Believe it or not, the definition of being healthy is still fuzzy.

- ‘for’ Health– In this category, the contribution of society and human behavior is taken care of.

Thus, we see that qualitative health research in general tries to address the question of ‘what’ and ‘how’ in health sector. Although, there is a welcome change in the form of increasing acceptance of methods of qualitative research in health sector, factions still exist which are skeptical about the efficacy of the research techniques. There are different epistemological aspects which are put under question by the increasing amount of work qualitative research. Hopefully, in the coming days, these qualitative health research yields fruitful results.

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Author : Tanusree Roy , an expert in Health and Nutrition niche . She has extensive experience in diet plan, nutrition advisory roles in various USA based nutrition and recipe based projects . She regularly publishes healthy recipes and tips on her blog : Healthy recipes blog , FaceBook

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