Qualitative research in CKD: an overview of methods and applications

Am J Kidney Dis. 2014 Sep;64(3):338-46. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2014.02.026. Epub 2014 Apr 24.


There recently has been a paradigm shift in health care policies and research toward greater patient centeredness. A core tenet of patient-centered care is that patients' needs, values, and preferences are respected in clinical decision making. Qualitative research methods are designed to generate insights about patients' priorities, values, and beliefs. However, in the past 5 years (2008-2013), only 23 (0.4%) of the 6,043 original articles published in the top 5 nephrology journals (assessed by impact factor) were qualitative studies. Given this observation, it seems important to promote awareness and better understanding within the nephrology community about qualitative research and how the findings can contribute to improving the quality and outcomes of care for patients with chronic kidney disease. This article outlines examples of how qualitative research can generate insight into the values and preferences of patients with chronic kidney disease, provides an overview of qualitative health research methods, and discusses practical applications for research, practice, and policy.

Keywords: Chronic kidney disease; patient-centered care; qualitative research.

MeSH terms

  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Qualitative Research*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic*
  • Research Design*