Purpose: The aim of this study was to examine the correspondence between qualitative and quantitative methods of coding experience of pain reported by participants with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee.
Methods: A mapping grid was produced to record the correspondence between subthemes that emerged from thematic analysis of interviews with 24 participants with knee OA, and from questionnaire items which were used in a study of 192 knee OA participants. Items were rated according to their degree of correspondence between subthemes and questionnaire items, and an overall correspondence score was produced for each subtheme and questionnaire measure.
Results: The subthemes that corresponded well with the questionnaire items were those that related to socio-emotional functioning, the overall experience of pain and the impact of pain on physical functioning. The questionnaire items did not relate to participants' knowledge about their condition and their experience of the medical system.
Conclusions: The study indicated that many aspects of pain experience reported by patients in qualitative interviews are also assessed by commonly used questionnaire outcome measures for people with pain. However, although participants reported that knowledge about their condition and their experience of the medical system were important aspects of the overall pain experience, these are rarely used as outcome measures. Questionnaires that address these additional aspects of the pain experience could be useful to further evaluate the experience of pain and may help to address important concerns raised by patients with OA of the knee.