Health research focuses on understanding the impact of health education and promotion, risk-taking behavior, medical care interventions, and policies on the health outcomes of individuals and populations. Investigators have traditionally used quantitative research methods to examine the influence of health education programs, health access and utilization, and the clinical effectiveness of medical care through randomized and nonrandomized experimental designs. However, these methods are not appropriate to measure and examine knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of an individual’s health, motivation to change, and willingness to adopt new health behaviors, nor are they adequate to measure patient perceptions of the quality of care received in a health care system. These more nuanced aspects of individual and population health may be most appropriately examined with qualitative research methods, which we will discuss in further detail in this article.
Author: Shipra Singh