Qualitative methods: beyond the cookbook

Fam Pract. 1998 Feb;15(1):76-9. doi: 10.1093/fampra/15.1.76.


Background: Qualitative methods appear increasingly in vogue in health services research (HSR). Such research, however, has utilized, often uncritically, a 'cookbook' of methods for data collection, and common-sense principles for data analysis.

Results and conclusions: This paper argues that qualitative HSR benefits from recognizing and drawing upon theoretical principles underlying qualitative data collection and analysis. A distinction is drawn between problem-orientated and theory-orientated research, in order to illustrate how problem-orientated research would benefit from the introduction of theoretical perspectives in order to develop the knowledge base of health services research.

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Health Services Research / methods*
  • Health Services Research / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Statistics as Topic / methods*
  • United Kingdom