Reporting Qualitative Research: Standards, Challenges, and Implications for Health Design

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Abstract

Objective:

This Methods column describes the existing reporting standards for qualitative research, their application to health design research, and the challenges to implementation. Intended for both researchers and practitioners, this article provides multiple perspectives on both reporting and evaluating high-quality qualitative research.

Background:

Two popular reporting standards exist for reporting qualitative research—the Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research (COREQ) and the Standards for Reporting Qualitative Research (SRQR). Though compiled using similar procedures, they differ in their criteria and the methods to which they apply. Creating and applying reporting criteria is inherently difficult due to the undefined and fluctuating nature of qualitative research when compared to quantitative studies.

Conclusions:

Qualitative research is expansive and occasionally controversial, spanning many different methods of inquiry and epistemological approaches. A “one-size-fits-all” standard for reporting qualitative research can be restrictive, but COREQ and SRQR both serve as valuable tools for developing responsible qualitative research proposals, effectively communicating research decisions, and evaluating submissions. Ultimately, tailoring a set of standards specific to health design research and its frequently used methods would ensure quality research and aid reviewers in their evaluations.

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