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About a year ago the BMJ’s editors were invited by seventy six senior academics from 11 countries, “ to reconsider their editorial policy of rejecting qualitative research on the grounds of low priority.“ (1)
Despite gathering an impressive number of supporting responses to their cause (2), that plea for a reconsideration of the value of qualitative research, seems to have gone largely unheeded.
Coulter’s editorial detailed the OECD health ministers’ recent determination to move away from a reliance on mortality rates and clinical indicators which give “ ..only a partial view of the value of health care,” to assessments of what people really feel about their health care, “ ..it’s impact on their well being and their ability to play an active role in society.” (2)
Expecting the BMJ to change to a more qualitative- friendly, research content may be akin to turning a rudderless battleship, or tug boat, onto a different course, but surely Coulter and the OECD make a strong case for open-mindedness in this respect ?