Understanding osteoporosis and fractures : an introduction to the use of qualitative research.

Hoang-Kim, A., Schemitsch, E., Sale, J.E.M., Beaton, D., Warmington, K., Kulkarni, A.V. and Reeves, S. (2014) Understanding osteoporosis and fractures : an introduction to the use of qualitative research. Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, 134(2), pp. 207-217. ISSN (print) 0936-8051


BACKGROUND: Qualitative research has been recognized in recent years as a field of inquiry used to understand people's beliefs, attitudes, behaviors, culture or lifestyle. While quantitative results are challenging to apply in everyday practice, the qualitative paradigm can be useful to fill in a research context that is poorly understood or ill-defined. It can provide an in-depth study of interactions, a way to incorporate context, and a means to hear the voices of participants. Understanding experiences, motivation, and beliefs can have a profound effect on the interpretation of quantitative research and generating hypotheses. In this paper, we will review different qualitative approaches that healthcare providers and researchers may find useful to implement in future study designs, specifically in the context of osteoporosis and fracture. METHODS: We will provide insight into the qualitative paradigm gained from the osteoporosis literature on fractures using examples from the database Scopus. Five prominent qualitative techniques (narratives, phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography, and case study) can be used to generate meanings of the social and clinical world. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: We have highlighted how these strategies are implemented in qualitative research on osteoporosis and fractures and are anchored to specific methodological practices. We focus on studies that explore patient psychosocial experiences of diagnosis and treatment, cultural boundaries, and interprofessional communication. After reviewing the research, we believe that action research, that is not frequently used, could also effectively be used by many professions to improve programs and policies affecting those dealing with osteoporosis issues.

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