Workshop - Reducing Uncertainty: The Need for Qualitative Research in Evidence-Informed Decision-Making


Audience: Of interest to policy-makers.

Level: Introductory

What you’ll learn: Participants will become familiar with qualitative research principles, common methods used, and when and how qualitative research can be practically used to influence health policy and practice.

  • Andrea Smith, CADTH
  • Brendalynn Ens, CADTH
  • Dr. Deidre DeJean, CADTH
  • Sarah Garland, CADTH

Note: Attendance is limited to 30 participants.

Abstract: Qualitative evidence enables insights into the contexts that shape the use of, and therefore the effectiveness of, health care interventions and helps to understand their acceptability and feasibility, and their perceived value to health service users. Within HTA, an interest in qualitative evidence reflects a policy imperative to ensure that the needs, preferences, and experiences of patients are central to decisions on technologies, treatments, or service redesign. Using illustrative examples from past HTAs, the workshop will provide an overview of qualitative research principles, common qualitative methods used in HTA, and describe and address some common misconceptions regarding these methods. A focus will be on the appropriate use of qualitative evidence in HTA to practically influence health policy and practice. First, the types of policy questions that qualitative evidence can (or cannot) inform will be identified, and what makes a “good” research question. Next, a review of common approaches to qualitative research in HTA, focusing on qualitative evidence synthesis as the predominant method, will be conducted. An introduction on how to interpret a qualitative evidence synthesis, including how to appraise its quality, illustrating the unique insights offered through qualitative evidence, and how qualitative evidence can help inform interpretations and understandings of other HTA evidence will end the workshop. Each part of this workshop involves a short presentation followed by interactive small-group exercises in which participants will gain hands-on experience.

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