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4.3.2 Specific traditions

Author(s): 
Laurence.Kohn
Author(s): 
Wendy.Christiaens

Specific traditions are embedded in the generic methods used in health(care) research we described. We give an example for each of them:

4.1.1.1     Phenomenology

Phenomenology focuses on “how human beings make sense of experience and transform experience into consciousness, both individually and as shared meaning” (Patton 2015, p.115). Phenomenology is about understanding the nature or meaning of everyday life. In-depth interviews with people who have directly experienced the phenomenon of interest, is the most used data collection technique. Phenomenology in qualitative research goes back to a philosophical tradition that was first applied to social science by E. H. Husserl to study people’s daily experiences.

Phenomenology will not be developed into detail, because it is less relevant to KCE projects.

4.1.1.2     Framework analysis

Framework analysis has been developed specifically for applied or policy relevant qualitative research, and is a deductive research strategy. In a framework analysis the objectives of the investigation are set in advance. The thematic framework for the content analysis is identified before the research or the qualitative research part in the project sets off.

The decision on using frameworks when analyzing data is closely related to the question for what purpose the qualitative material will be used in the overall research strategy. “Frameworks” are generally deducted from hypotheses of theoretical frameworks: e.g. if the aim of a focus group is trying to get a picture of stakeholders interests and potential conflicting perspectives on a health care issue, and the focus group tries to grasp how stakeholders develop power plays or influence strategies to set agenda’s, a conceptual framework on decision-making processes and power play will serve as a useful tool to orient data-collection and data-analysis.

Applying framework analysis concretely means that the themes emerging from the data are placed in the framework defined a priori. The framework is systematically applied to all the data. Although an analytical framework can be very useful, it is not suited, if the aim is to discover new ideas, since a framework or grid could be blinding (Paillé and Mucchielli 2011).

For the specificity of the analysis of data according to this method see Framework analysis

4.1.1.3     Grounded theory

Grounded theory was developed by Glaser and Strauss in the late 1960s as a methodology for extracting meaning from qualitative data. Typically, the researcher does not start from a preconceived theory, but allows the theory to emerge from the data (Durant-Law 2005). Hence grounded theory is an inductive rather than a deductive methodology. Emergence is also a key assumption in grounded theory: data, information and knowledge are seen as emergent phenomena that are actively constructed. They can only have meaning when positioned in time, space and culture (Durant-Law 2005).

The power of grounded theory lies in the depth of the analysis. Grounded theory explains rather than describes and aims at a deep understanding of phenomena (Durant-Law 2005). Key to grounded theory is the emphasis on theory as the final output of research. Other approaches may stop at the level of description or interpretation of the data (e.g. thematic analysis).

Grounded theory is a complete method, a way of conceptualizing a qualitative research project.

For the specificity of the analysis of data according to this method see Data analysis in the Grounded Theory