Qualitative Methods for Disparities Research

This webinar focuses on how to effectively utilize qualitative research methods in disparities research. Qualitative research has helped researchers to capture valuable information related to the values and perceptions of health and health care among racial/ethnic minority groups, provide insight into the impact of public health policies and interventions designed to reduce health and healthcare disparities, and can generate novel hypotheses and research questions. Despite the fundamental role that qualitative research plays in understanding problems and developing solutions to health disparities issues, it remains difficult to fund and publish this work. This webinar provides advice on how to design qualitative research to ensure that important information is being generated and captured, how to “pitch” the work to funders and reviewers, and how to write up the results so that they will be accepted for publication.

Dr. Andrea Ault-Brutus, Dr. Dharma Cortés, and Dr. Benjamin Cook shared their experiences in utilizing qualitative methods in previous healthcare disparities projects and provide practical guidelines for conducting qualitative research studies, from framing a problem to interpreting the results. Dr. Cook began with an overview of the use of qualitative studies in disparities research and provide an example of how semi-structured interviews and focus groups were used to elicit state health agency official input into the development of a mental health care disparities index. Dr. Cortés described a number of qualitative research techniques and common pitfalls to conducting qualitative research, providing an overview of focus groups, ethnographic study, interviews, recruitment, and analysis. She used examples from her work in Puerto Rico assessing the relationships between neighborhood characteristics and mental health. Dr. Andrea Ault discussed her experience conducting and analyzing semi-structured interviews and focus groups assessing how integrated care in a community health center setting improved access to mental health care for patients of color.