Using a theory-driven conceptual framework in qualitative health research

Qual Health Res. 2012 May;22(5):607-18. doi: 10.1177/1049732311431898. Epub 2011 Dec 27.


The role and merits of highly inductive research designs in qualitative health research are well established, and there has been a powerful proliferation of grounded theory method in the field. However, tight qualitative research designs informed by social theory can be useful to sensitize researchers to concepts and processes that they might not necessarily identify through inductive processes. In this article, we provide a reflexive account of our experience of using a theory-driven conceptual framework, the Normalization Process Model, in a qualitative evaluation of general practitioners' uptake of a free, pilot, language interpreting service in the Republic of Ireland. We reflect on our decisions about whether or not to use the Model, and describe our actual use of it to inform research questions, sampling, coding, and data analysis. We conclude with reflections on the added value that the Model and tight design brought to our research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Concept Formation*
  • Emigrants and Immigrants
  • Health Services Research*
  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Qualitative Research*
  • Research Design*