By Kim Morgan, on 29 January 2015
Interest in qualitative approaches is growing among research communities concerned with health, illness and care. This is clearly indicated by the rise of mixed methods studies, the proliferation of qualitative health research journals and conferences, and the marked presence of qualitative researchers in academic centres of health research.
While this reflects the recognition and endorsement of its contribution, the inclusion of qualitative approaches in health research is not straightforward. Indeed, tensions remain between the conceptual and methodological approaches of qualitative research and those of a quantitative paradigm generally more familiar to health practitioners, policymakers and often other researchers. These tensions foreground questions to be explored around the applicability, value, contribution, legitimacy and limitations of qualitative inquiry within the prevailing research culture.
The UCL Division of Psychiatry’s Qualitative Researchers Working Group is collaborating with the UCL Department of Applied Health Research and the UCL Health Behaviour Research Centre on a one day symposium to discuss these questions and to generate constructive commentary on the contributions that qualitative inquiry can make to understandings of health, illness and care.
Papers cohere around three key themes: (1) problematising the research landscape, (2) re-approaching familiar frameworks, and (3) enriching the potential for qualitative approaches in research on health, illness and care.
The symposium will include a keynote paper by Dr Sara Shaw, Queen Mary University of London and a panel discussion featuring Professor Paul Higgs, UCL Division of Psychiatry, Professor Naomi Fulop, UCL Department of Applied Health Research, and Professor Richard Watt, UCL Epidemiology and Public Health.