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Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatría

versão impressa ISSN 0034-7450


J. SYED, Rebecca. A Guide to Planning Qualitative Research. rev.colomb.psiquiatr. [online]. 2006, vol.35, n.3, pp.420-428. ISSN 0034-7450.

Introduction: Research in psychiatry overwhelmingly relies on quantitative methodology. However, qualitative research may be an invaluable tool in psychiatry. Its potential under utilisation is multi factorial: it is still regarded by some as a “soft option”, relatively few qualitative papers are accepted for publication in medical journals, some assert that health researchers would benefit from training in or collaboration with appropriately trained social scientists and numerous social scientists have produced various checklists, guidelines or manuals for qualitative research, which can be confusing and even contradictory. Aims: This article seeks to describe how to plan a qualitative study, with the aim of reducing apprehension and encouraging further qualitative research in the field of psychiatry. Methods: The main considerations when planning qualitative research will be outlined particularly with regard to: the question and background of the research area, the underlying philosophy, bias, ethical consideration followed by a nuts and bolts description of the methods. Discussion: There are many potential pitfalls in conducting qualitative research. These may involve poor planning, attempting unselectively to fulfill all of the quality criterion suggested in all the various checklists, or under estimating the resources necessary to meaningfully analyze qualitative data. Conclusion: With adequate planning, training and supervision, qualitative methodology is a valid, useful and publishable tool for those researching within the field of psychiatry.

Palavras-chave : Qualitative research; depression; adolescents.

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