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Evaluating Complex Health Interventions With Randomized Controlled Trials: How Do We Improve the Use of Qualitative Methods?

Mannell, J; Davis, K; (2019) Evaluating Complex Health Interventions With Randomized Controlled Trials: How Do We Improve the Use of Qualitative Methods? Qualitative Health Research , 29 (5) pp. 623-631. 10.1177/1049732319831032. Green open access

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Abstract

Qualitative methods are underutilized in health intervention evaluation, and overshadowed by the importance placed on randomized controlled trials (RCTs). This Commentary describes how innovative qualitative methods are being used as part of RCTs, drawing on articles included in a special issue of Qualitative Health Research on this topic. The articles’ insights and a review of innovative qualitative methods described in trial protocols highlights a lack of attention to structural inequalities as a causal mechanism for understanding human behavior. We situate this gap within some well-known constraints of RCT methodologies, and a discussion of alternative RCT approaches that hold promise for bringing qualitative methods center stage in intervention evaluation, including adaptive designs, pragmatic trials, and realist RCTs. To address the power hierarchies of health evaluation research, however, we argue that a fundamental shift needs to take place away from a focus on RCTs and toward studies of health interventions.

Type: Article
Title: Evaluating Complex Health Interventions With Randomized Controlled Trials: How Do We Improve the Use of Qualitative Methods?
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/1049732319831032
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1049732319831032
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: methodology, intervention evaluation, research design, qualitative, global health
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10071118
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