Send to

Choose Destination
Patient Educ Couns. 2001 Oct;45(1):3-11.

Domains of consultation research in primary care.

Author information

National Primary Care Research and Development Centre, University of Manchester, 5th Floor, Williamson Bldg., Oxford Road, UK.


The consultation is increasingly viewed as a crucial aspect of general practice medicine, but a variety of methods of conceptualising, describing and modifying its structure and content have been described. This article describes the historical background to the current interest in the consultation, and describes four qualitatively distinct approaches (or 'domains') to understanding the consultation: the psychodynamic; clinical-observational; social-psychological; and sociological. Four key dimensions along which the domains can be differentiated are described. These concern whether the critique of medical practice inherent in the domain is internal or external to the discipline of general practice; whether the focus of the domain is on the consultation participants' identities or activities; whether the key research methodology is quantitative or qualitative in character; and the degree to which the objective of research within the domain is to describe current practice or prescribe ways of conducting the consultation. Methods of encouraging work across domains are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center