Qualitative research methods in renal medicine: an introduction

Katherine Bristowe*, Lucy Selman, Fliss E M Murtagh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Qualitative methodologies are becoming increasingly widely used in health research. However, within some specialties, including renal medicine, qualitative approaches remain under-represented in the high-impact factor journals. Qualitative research can be undertaken: (i) as a stand-alone research method, addressing specific research questions; (ii) as part of a mixed methods approach alongside quantitative approaches or (iii) embedded in clinical trials, or during the development of complex interventions. The aim of this paper is to introduce qualitative research, including the rationale for choosing qualitative approaches, and guidance for ensuring quality when undertaking and reporting qualitative research. In addition, we introduce types of qualitative data (observation, interviews and focus groups) as well as some of the most commonly encountered methodological approaches (case studies, ethnography, phenomenology, grounded theory, thematic analysis, framework analysis and content analysis).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1424-1431
Number of pages8
JournalNephrology, Dialysis, Transplantation
Issue number9
Early online date18 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015


  • Focus groups
  • interviews
  • methodology
  • observation
  • qualitative


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