A novice's guide to qualitative health professions education research

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Qualitative research has long been considered the poor cousin to quantitative research. However, recently it has gained more prominence and respect, particularly within health professions education. This article aims to introduce the novice researcher to the fundamental principles of qualitative research. We introduce the basic features of qualitative research, and describe the rationale for conducting such research. We guide the researcher as to how to differentiate between the most common forms of qualitative research. We guide researchers to take the time to acquaint themselves with research paradigms, the philosophical positions that guide how research is conducted and interpreted, before selecting one's methodology and methods. Qualitative research is rigorous, and offers deeper understanding of human experiences, context, and social phenomena. We demonstrate the key considerations when selecting an appropriate methodology, ensuring that the research aim aligns with the purpose of any given methodology. The power of qualitative research should not be underestimate, but power only comes from well conducted, rigorous research. Qualitative research is not quick or easy but it has much to offer.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical and Experimental Dermatology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 17 Aug 2022

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