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Qualitative Methods in Public Health: A Field Guide for Applied Research

ISBN: 978-0-7879-7634-7
344 pages
November 2004, Jossey-Bass
Qualitative Methods in Public Health: A Field Guide for Applied Research (0787976342) cover image


Qualitative Methods in Public Health is a comprehensive resource that presents practical strategies and methods for using qualitative research and includes the basic logic and rationale for making qualitative research decisions. This important book outlines the complexities, advantages, and limitations of qualitative methods and offers information and step-by-step procedures for every phase of research¾from theory to study design, data collection, analysis, interpretation, writing, and dissemination. Written for faculty, students, and practitioners in public health research, promotion, and education Qualitative Methods in Public Health will help those with prior research experience expand their repertoire to include qualitative methods.  The book also contains up-to-date illustrations from a  wealth of topics such as reproductive choice, sexual risk and protection, gender relations, and other areas critical to understanding population, health, and disease. Qualitative Methods in Public Health includes 
  • Examples of mixed qualitative-quantitative research design
  • Guidelines for discussions, sample budgets, and caveats for planning and implementing focus groups
  • Sample agenda for training interviewers 
  • A summary of needed critical appraisal skills
  • Tips on where to publish the results
  • Sample brochure to share qualitative study findings with participating communities
  • A comprehensive index
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Table of Contents

List of Boxes.

List of Field Perspectives.




Chapter 1: Invitation to Explore.

Chapter 2: The Language and Logic of Qualitative Research.

Chapter 3: Designing the Study.

Chapter 4: Collecting Qualitative Data: The Science and the Art.

Chapter 5: Logistics in the Field.

Chapter 6: Qualitative Data Analysis.

Chapter 7: Putting It into Words: Reporting Qualitative Research Results.

Chapter 8: Disseminating Qualitative Research.

Appendix 1: Samples of Behavioral Frameworks.

Appendix 2: Examples of Oral Consent Forms.

Appendix 3: Example of a Qualitative-Quantitative Research Design.

Appendix 4: Procedural Guidelines for Managing Focus Group Discussions.

Appendix 5: Sample Budget Categories for Planning Focus Group Discussions.

Appendix 6: Topic Guides for Focus Group Discussions on Reproductive Health.

Appendix 7: Sample Interviewer Training Program Agenda.

Appendix 8: Common Errors in Moderating Focus Groups.

Appendix 9: Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP): Ten Questions to Help You Make Sense of Qualitative Research.

Appendix 10: Where to Publish.

Appendix 11: Sample Research Brief on the Female Condom.

Appendix 12: Who Is an Author?

Appendix 13: Sample Brochure to Share Qualitative Study Findings with Participating Communities.

Appendix 14: Making Study Findings Accessible to Other Researchers.

Suggested Readings and Selected Internet Resources.


The Authors.

The Contributors.


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Author Information

Priscilla R. Ulin is a senior research scientist in the Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Division of Family Health International, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

Elizabeth T. Robinson is director of the Information Programs Division of Family Health International, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

Elizabeth E. Tolley is a senior research associate in the Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Division of Family Health International, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

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“This book helps students from the first step of developing a conceptual framework through analysis, interpretation, and write-up of data. This is a terrific book.”
--Margaret Bentley, professor of nutrition and associate dean for public health, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

“Will be immensely useful to all health social scientists working in international health as well as members of transdisciplinary teams of researchers trying to better understand what qualitative research brings to the table.”
--Mark Nichter, professor, University of Arizona, Tucson

“This book’s reader-friendly tone helped my Papua New Guinean students and colleagues learn the language of qualitative research and later to conduct rapid assessments of HIV and AIDS peer-education needs in their own communities.”
--Lawrence Hammar, senior research fellow, Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, Goroka, Papua New Guinea

“The book’s clear presentation and refreshing absence of jargon makes it highly accessible to all wishing to make effective use of qualitative methods.”
--John Cleland, professor, Centre for Population Studies, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

“Grounds qualitative theory in practical application and provides illustrative perspective from the field that can be used to promote critical thinking for nursing students.”
--Janice Smolowitz, assistant dean for clinical practice, Columbia University School of Nursing, New York

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