Author Affiliations: Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (Drs Giacomini and Cook), Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis (Dr Giacomini), Department of Medicine, Divisions of General Medicine and Critical Care for the Evidence-Based Medicine Working Group (Dr Cook), McMaster University, Faculty of Health Sciences, Hamilton, Ontario.
Users' Guides to the Medical Literature Section
Editor: Drummond Rennie, MD, Deputy Editor.
The second part of this 2-part series on how to interpret qualitative
research addresses, "what are the results," and, "how do they help me care
for my patients?" Qualitative analysis is a process of summarizing and interpreting
data to develop theoretical insights that describe and explain social phenomena
such as interactions, experiences, roles, perspectives, symbols, and organizations.
Key results are often illustrated with excerpts from interview transcripts,
field notes, or documents. The results of a qualitative research report are
best understood as an empirically based contribution to ongoing dialogue and
exploration. Empirically based theory evolves from a process of exploration,
discovery, analysis, and synthesis. Each concept should be defined carefully
in a way that is meaningful to the reader. Concepts should be adequately developed
and illustrated when theoretical conclusions are drawn. Arguments should be
explained and justified. The qualitative research report ideally should address
how the findings relate to other theories in the field. The qualitative study
can provide a useful road map for understanding and navigating similar social
settings interactions, or relationships.
Giacomini MK, Cook DJ, for the Evidence-Based Medicine Working Group . Users' Guides to the Medical LiteratureXXIII. Qualitative Research in Health CareB. What Are the
Results and How Do They Help Me Care for My Patients?. JAMA. 2000;284(4):478-482. doi:10.1001/jama.284.4.478