Qualitative Research Methods

OLG Qualitative ResearchThe strength of qualitative research is the ability to provide textual descriptions of how physicians and patients experience a given research scenario. It provides information about the “human” side of an issue – that is, the often contradictory behaviors, beliefs, opinions, emotions, and relationships of individuals to various issues as well as to brands. When used along with quantitative methods, qualitative research can help to interpret and better understand the complex reality of a given situation and the implications of quantitative data.

Qualitative research methods are used primarily to define a problem and generate hypotheses. They are often used as the prelude to quantitative research in order to identify determinants, refine objectives or issues and develop quantitative research designs. Because of the low number of respondents involved, qualitative research methods cannot be used to generalize or project to the study population. They are however, very valuable for exploring an issue and generally superior to quantitative research at probing below the surface in order to understand what drives and motivates physician attitudes, perception and behavior.

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