Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods for Exploring Clinical Problems and Enhancing Practice #2855

INSTRUCTIONAL COURSE DETAIL

MON, 26 OCT: 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM

SPEAKERS

Karen Besterman-Dahan;
Lisa Brenner, PhD;
Theresa T. Crocker, PhD, MS, RD;
Alison M. Cogan, MA, OTR/L

DIAGNOSIS

DIAGNOSIS-Independent

FOCUS

Research Methods

DESCRIPTION

Qualitative research methods have much to contribute to theoretical and applied knowledge in rehabilitation. Attendees will be introduced to qualitative research methodology, with emphases on criteria for evaluating the rigor of published qualitative studies, the role of qualitative approaches in mixed methods research, and clinical applications of qualitative methods, such as implementation science. Interactive exercises will give attendees hands-on experience with some of the key concepts. Attendees will gain foundational knowledge about qualitative research, resources for applying it to evidence-based practice in their clinical areas, and appreciation for the many ways qualitative methods can enhance rehabilitation research and practice.

ABSTRACT BODY

Qualitative research methods have much to contribute to theoretical and applied knowledge in the field of rehabilitation. However, the value and application of these methods are not well understood among rehabilitation professionals. In the context of evidence-based practice, quantitative methods are privileged, with the randomized controlled trial lauded as the “gold standard” methodology when considering the quality of research design. However, while interventions developed and tested by researchers under highly controlled conditions provide the theoretical–empirical basis for practice, the transfer of these evidence-based interventions to real-life settings face issues related to acceptability, maintenance of intervention integrity, achievement of positive outcomes, and avoidance of negative consequences. Limitations to intervention research include lack of documentation of the challenges encountered in implementing interventions designed to change or reform existing practice, as well as the lack of attention to cultural and contextual factors which not only facilitate or inhibit the effectiveness of intervention, but also influence the social or ecological validity of the interventions. Furthermore, the majority of evidence-based interventions are developed from the existing body of scientific knowledge, without the benefit of formative research and thus with minimal attention to the specific needs and resources of the target population. Qualitative approaches have been found to contribute in multiple critical ways to the development and evaluation of health interventions.  Consequently, increasing numbers of randomized controlled trials of such interventions include qualitative components.

Implementation and dissemination research is another area that benefits from the inclusion of qualitative methods. Lack of translation of research findings into practice, and significant lags in translation time for those that are translated have prompted health services researchers to study natural processes of diffusion of innovative findings and to develop more effective methods of encouraging adoption, dissemination and implementation.  There is recognition that research must be designed, disseminated, and implemented in concert with the experiences, perspectives, and needs of a full range of stakeholders, including policy-makers, agency directors, supervisors, clinical staff, and patients and their families. Qualitative methods are being employed in research designs to understand, collaborate with, and respond to stakeholders in the communities in which researchers intend their work to be disseminated and implemented.

In this course, attendees will be introduced to qualitative research methodology, with emphases on criteria for evaluating the rigor of published qualitative studies, methodological considerations when designing and implementing rigorous qualitative research, the role of qualitative approaches in mixed methods research, and clinical applications of qualitative methods, such as implementation science.  Current examples in rehabilitation will be incorporated throughout, and interactive exercises will give attendees hands-on experience with some of the key concepts.  Attendees of this session will gain foundational knowledge about qualitative research, resources for applying it to evidence-based practice in their clinical areas, and appreciation for the many ways qualitative methods can enhance rehabilitation research and practice.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

  1. Recognize how qualitative methods can be useful for understanding clinical problems, conducting trials, and evaluating program implementation
  2. Describe how to assess rigor in qualitative research using evaluation tools
  3. Identify qualitative methods commonly used approaches in rehabilitation research

TARGET AUDIENCE

Researchers, Clinicians (MD, PhD, PsyD, rehabilitation, neuropsychologists), therapists

BIO SKETCHES

Karen Besterman-Dahan is a medical anthropologist and the Qualitative Core Director for the Center of Innovation for Rehabilitation and Disabilities Research (CINDRR) at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa, FL. Her program of research includes reintegration and maximizing community participation. With a background in adult education and nutrition, she has methodological training and expertise in medical anthropology and specific training and expertise in qualitative methods, including interview and focus group methodology, ethnography and qualitative data analysis using computer-aided qualitative data analysis (CAQDA) software (NVivo and Atlas.ti). Furthermore, she is the co-PI of Action Ethnography of Community Reintegration for veterans with TBI (HSR&D), a study to better understand the experiences of Veterans with TBI as they transition to and sustain living in communities, and PI of a pilot mixed method study involving interviews, surveys and social network analysis, Exploring Deployment Stress and Reintegration in Army National Guard Chaplains (RR&D).

Lisa A. Brenner, PhD is a Board Certified Rehabilitation Psychologist, and a Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at the University of Colorado, Anschutz School of Medicine, and the Director of the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 19 Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC; http://www.mirecc.va.gov/visn19/). She is the Research Director for the Department of PM&R. Dr. Brenner is also a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Division 22, Rehabilitation Psychology. Her primary area of research interest is traumatic brain injury, co-morbid psychiatric disorders, and negative psychiatric outcomes including suicide. She serves as the Research Division Director for the American Association of Suicidology, and an Associate Editor of the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. Dr. Brenner has numerous peer-reviewed publications, participates on national advisory boards, and is currently co-authoring a book regarding neurodisability and suicide.

Examples of grant funded projects include: A Brief Intervention to Reduce Suicide Risk in Military Members and Veterans (U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command Military Operational Medicine Research Program), Window to Hope: Evaluating a Psychology Treatment for Hopelessness Among Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury (Military Suicide Research Consortium), and Health and Wellness Intervention for Individuals with TBI (National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research).

Theresa Crocker is a medical anthropologist with a background in nutrition and chronic disease prevention. She has experience with community-based participatory research, prevention clinical trials and expertise using qualitative methodologies such as   interviews (individual and dyad) and focus groups. She promotes the use of qualitative methods to understand the myriad of perspectives that contribute to health related care and decision making.

Alison Cogan is an occupational therapist and doctoral student at the University of Southern California Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy (USC Chan) in Los Angeles. She teaches a course, Qualitative Research for Evidence-based Practice, in the masters’s of occupational therapy program at USC Chan. For her dissertation, Ms. Cogan is using qualitative methods to better understand the challenges with participation in daily life for active-duty Marines with mild traumatic brain injury in a collaborative study with Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton near Oceanside, CA.

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