Toward methodological emancipation in applied health research

Qual Health Res. 2011 Apr;21(4):443-53. doi: 10.1177/1049732310392595. Epub 2010 Dec 16.


In this article, I trace the historical groundings of what have become methodological conventions in the use of qualitative approaches to answer questions arising from the applied health disciplines and advocate an alternative logic more strategically grounded in the epistemological orientations of the professional health disciplines. I argue for an increasing emphasis on the modification of conventional qualitative approaches to the particular knowledge demands of the applied practice domain, challenging the merits of what may have become unwarranted attachment to theorizing. Reorienting our methodological toolkits toward the questions arising within an evidence-dominated policy agenda, I encourage my applied health disciplinary colleagues to make themselves useful to that larger project by illuminating that which quantitative research renders invisible, problematizing the assumptions on which it generates conclusions, and filling in the gaps in knowledge needed to make decisions on behalf of people and populations.

Publication types

  • Address

MeSH terms

  • Biological Science Disciplines*
  • Health Services Research / methods*
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication*
  • Qualitative Research*
  • Research Design*