Chapter 9

Applying Qualitative Community Research

Ernest Quimby

Abstract

Qualitative research perspectives, methods and data help shape educational pedagogies, policies, practices and assessments. They provide insights and empirical evidence for services and interventions. Development of a qualitative evidence base may help align mental health principles, priorities, practices and services. Mixed research methods (MRM) and community-based participatory research (CBPR) are important for cultural competency and cultural proficiency. Paradigms of quantitative vs. qualitative fail to grasp complexities of health disparities and inequities. Nevertheless, qualitative research has to be marketed. Its research questions, designs and findings must be aligned with funders’ missions. Grant applications require careful consideration of numerous issues. Among them are: preparatory groundwork; conceptualization; preparation of application; clarity and interrelatedness of approach, methodology and design; investigators and consultants; human subjects; research environment; budget; and submission. Failure to pay strict attention to each of these may lead to rejection based on a non-fundable review score. Assessing qualitative research involves determining strong associations between theory, meaning and constructs. Although not designed to test a theory or measure a construct, qualitative research is based on sound conceptualization. Obtaining meaningful data involves conceptual and consequent methodological clarity. Meaning-making (making meaning) from data assists our understanding of mental health policies and practices. Assessment of qualitative research instruction is not standardized or evidence-based. However, stemming from theory and practice, it is possible to assert several principles of culturally proficient research.

Total Pages: 147-160 (14)

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