Perspectives in Clinical Research

: 2013  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 192-

Qualitative research

Vibha Pathak1, Bijayini Jena2, Sanjay Kalra3,  
1 Department of Clinical Research, Bharti Hospital and BRIDE, Karnal, Haryana, India
2 Department of Nutrition, Bharti Hospital and BRIDE, Karnal, Haryana, India
3 Department of Endocrinology, Bharti Hospital and BRIDE, Karnal, Haryana, India

Correspondence Address:
Sanjay Kalra
Bharti Hospital and BRIDE, Karnal, Haryana

How to cite this article:
Pathak V, Jena B, Kalra S. Qualitative research.Perspect Clin Res 2013;4:192-192

How to cite this URL:
Pathak V, Jena B, Kalra S. Qualitative research. Perspect Clin Res [serial online] 2013 [cited 2022 Oct 3 ];4:192-192
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Scientific research is based upon finding a solution to a particular problem one can identify. There are various methods of formulating a research design for the study. Two broad approaches of data collection and interpretation in research are qualitative and quantitative research. The elementary method of conducting research was quantitative, but recently, qualitative method of research has also gained momentum among researchers.

Qualitative research focuses in understanding a research query as a humanistic or idealistic approach. Though quantitative approach is a more reliable method as it is based upon numeric and methods that can be made objectively and propagated by other researchers. Qualitative method is used to understand people's beliefs, experiences, attitudes, behavior, and interactions. It generates non-numerical data. The integration of qualitative research into intervention studies is a research strategy that is gaining increased attention across disciplines. Although once viewed as philosophically incongruent with experimental research, qualitative research is now recognized for its ability to add a new dimension to interventional studies that cannot be obtained through measurement of variables alone. [1] Qualitative research was initially used in psychological studies when researchers found it tedious to evaluate human behavior in numeric. Since then, qualitative research is used in other research fields as well. In clinical research, qualitative approach can help view the data more extensively. It strengthens clinical trials by enhancing user involvement in it.

Three broad categories of qualitative research of interest exists in clinical research: Observational studies, interview studies and documentary/textual analysis of various written records. [2] Qualitative research gives voice to the participants in the study. [1] It permits the participants to share their experiences of the effects of the drug of interest. This can open our eyes to new aspects of the study and help modify the design of the clinical trial. Qualitative study enhances the involvement of everyone related to the study. The researcher works on the social parameters in addition to the quantitative measures in the study. The subjects also have an empowering experience in the study. They have an active role in the study and can voice their individual benefits and harms of the study. In addition, with qualitative methods, the relationship between the researcher and the participant is often less formal than in quantitative research.

Qualitative research can have a major contribution in health research. In clinical trials, qualitative research can have a great impact on data collection, its analysis and the interpretation of results. Qualitative studies should be well-designed and the aims, procedures of the study should be meticulously adjudicated. Study should have pre-determined methods to nullify research bias. When combined with quantitative measures, qualitative study can give a better understanding of health related issues. The perspectives in clinical research should highlight advances in qualitative research as well, to optimize quality and utility of this method of research.


1Gibson G, Timlin A, Curran S, Wattis J. The scope for qualitative methods in research and clinical trials in dementia. Age Ageing 2004;33:422-6.
2Pope C, Mays N. In: Mays N, Pope N, editors. Qualitative Methods in Health and Health Services Research. London, BMJ: Qualitative Research in Health Care; 1996.