Qualitative Research

Our researchers employ social science theoretical frameworks and qualitative methods to understand the meaning and individual, structural, and social determinants of health behavior and health outcomes. Our qualitative research aims to explore why individuals engage in certain health behaviors and what and how social factors (i.e., gender equity, social and economic status, human rights) affect health outcomes.

We routinely use qualitative research methods (e.g., semi-structured in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and observation) and sampling (e.g., respondent-driven sampling, purposive sampling) to develop hypotheses, understand and explain social phenomena, design quantitative instruments, evaluate public health and development interventions, explain the meaning of survey data, and make contributions to the development of public health and development policies and programs.

Our qualitative research has included groundbreaking work on the health and social service needs of women living with HIV in Vietnam, the HIV prevention needs of vulnerable populations in Ghana, the barriers to and facilitators of adherence to lifesaving antiretroviral therapy in China and Zambia, the impact of cash transfer programs on orphans and vulnerable children in India and Malawi, and umbilical cord care and breastfeeding cessation in Zambia.