ABSTRACT: Introducing medical educators to qualitative study design: Twelve tips from inception to completion
Many research questions posed by medical educators could be answered more effectively by the application of carefully selected qualitative research design than traditional quantitative research methods. Indeed, in many cases using mixed methods research would expand the scope of a study and yield meaningful qualitative data in addition to quantitative data. Qualitative research seeks to understand people’s experiences, the meanings they assign to those experiences, the psychosocial aspects of and language used in interpersonal interactions, and the factors that influence perspectives and interactions. This understanding is vital in exploring learning and teaching styles, learners’ experiences and perceptions, implementing and studying the impact of educational interventions and faculty development. This article aims to advance medical educators’ understanding and application of qualitative research principles in educational scholarship by summarising and consolidating the fundamental principles of research in medical education described in recent AMEE guides. The 12 tips below offer a systematic, yet practical approach to designing a qualitative research study, particularly targeting educators new to this arena.