Intended for healthcare professionals


Why do qualitative research?

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 01 July 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:2
  1. Roger Jones
  1. Wolfson professor of general practice Department of General Practice, UMDS (Guy's and St Thomas's), London SE11 6SP

    It should begin to close the gap between the sciences of discovery and implementation

    When Eliot asked “Where is the understanding we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”1 he anticipated by half a century the important role of qualitative methodologies in health services research. In this week's journal Catherine Pope and Nick Mays introduce a series of articles on qualitative research that will describe the characteristics, scope, and applications of qualitative methodologies and, while distinguishing between qualitative and quantitative techniques, will emphasise that the two approaches should be regarded as complementary rather than competitive (p 42).2

    Qualitative research takes an interpretive, naturalistic approach to its subject …

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