How qualitative information helped to shape quantitative research instruments in Rwanda


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Abstract

Rwanda experienced extreme violence and genocide during a three month period starting in April 1994. In the northern regions, there had been ongoing violence since 1990. Many inhabitants still suffer emotionally from the consequences of this era. We performed a quantitative study to measure the effectiveness of sociotherapy; a community based psychosocial intervention carried out in northern Rwanda. This article describes qualitative research methods used to enable and improve this quantitative study, and more specifically how the authors adapted and validated three main outcome measures for use within the local context. Psychological wellbeing was measured by use of the Self Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ-20), social functioning by use of a locally designed questionnaire, and social capital by use of a short, adapted version of the Social Capital Assessment Tool (Short A-SCAT).The collection of context related, qualitative information was essential to create applicable and context appropriate instruments. The authors' experiences underline that for any mental health or psychosocial study, a substantial contribution from qualitative research is essential. In spite of the authors' efforts, it still proved to be very difficult to quantitatively assess issues related to social relations.

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