Qualitative research: meaning and language


  • Liam Clarke RNMH RMN DipN RNT BA MSc PhD

    Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing, Corresponding author
    1. East Sussex and West Kent Institute of Nursing, Health Visiting and Midwifery Education, Brighton, England
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Mr L Clarke 11 Battle Crescent, Hailsham East Sussex BN27 1EN England


Qualitative methodologies, for example those determined by ethnography, are being reported by a growing number of British nurses It is this author's contention that these studies are seriously deficient in areas such as sampling, reliability and, particularly, the attribution of meaning to statements given by interviewees Whilst it is acknowledged that this kind of research is necessary for analyses of inter-personal relations, it is asserted that such analyses have inadequately dealt with psychological factors of perception and interpretation Although some of these problems may be partially resolved, there remains a requirement that such ethnographies acknowledge the tentative quality of their conclusions given the subjectivity of the methods used