Methodological and Practical Issues in Cross-National Qualitative Research: Lessons From the Literature and a Comparative Study of the Experiences of People Receiving a Diagnosis of Cancer

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Abstract

Social science and health services research have much to gain from cross-national qualitative research, yet the logistics involved in setting up such studies, especially where different languages and health systems are involved, can seem daunting. In this article, we highlight issues to consider and suggest some solutions, drawing both on the literature and examples from our own cross-national research. We highlight the issues involved with synchronizing staffing and funding, ensuring comparable methods, project management, and communication between research groups, the consequences of the different criteria for ethical approval for recruitment, the challenge of working with multiple languages, teams involving different disciplines and skill sets, and coordinating and timing data collection and analysis. The aim of this article is to draw on the literature, which includes several useful insights, as well as reflections from our own cross-national research, to highlight considerations for cross-national qualitative research teams. Our approach is to highlight and discuss potential challenges and suggest potential solutions, using the format of an illustrated literature review.

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