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New book explains qualitative research in health sciences – focus on real life settings

A group of researchers in Health Sciences share their experiences using qualitative research methods in a new textbook, Qualitative research: People, practices and phenomena. Published in the University of Eastern Finland Publication series, the book is also freely available online. The writers are mostly researchers in Public Health and Nursing Science, and the book has been edited by University Lecturer, Assistant Professor of International Health Sohaib Khan.

“The aim is to bring the focus on the use of qualitative methods in real life settings around the globe, an insight often ignored by the methodological textbooks on qualitative research,” Khan says.

Qualitative research aims to understand the patterns of thought, mechanisms and motivations behind human practices and phenomena. During the past decades, qualitative methods have increased in popularity within health sciences, especially combined with more traditional quantitative methods. In the new book, the authors offer a variety of perspectives on qualitative research based on their experience.

The authors point out that the qualitative research process is unique and sensitive in nature. The data collection process calls for mastery of inter-personal skills and research ethics, among other things.

The researcher acts as a data collection tool in the process and thus is linked very directly and intimately to the quality of the data. The data can also be interpreted and understood from a variety of alternative angles. The real-life examples presented in the book vary from different methods of data collection and analysis to creating trust, encountering challenges in field work as well as combining qualitative and quantitative methods.

For further information, please contact:

Sohaib Khan, University Lecturer, Assistant Professor of International Health, Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, sohaib.khan (a) uef.fi, tel. +358 403553735

Khan, Sohaib: Qualitative research: People, practices and phenomena. Publications of the University of Eastern Finland. General Series, no 30.