Qualitative Methods in Community Analysis


Address correspondence to: Mary Ann Ruffing-Rahal, PhD, RN, College of Nursing, Ohio State University, 1585 Neil Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43210. Telephone: (614) 422-5371, Ext 494.


Qualitative and quantitative methodologies are optimally combined in efforts to analyze complex social entities such as the community. This is an area in which public health nurses can make a significant contribution. As well as emphasizing the cultural and ecologic dimensions, qualitative methodology highlights the community's own portrayal of health and illness. Specific qualitative techniques that are integral to the public health nurse's community practice include obsevation, informal interviews, case studies, mapping, and photography.