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J Health Serv Res Policy. 2004 Jul;9(3):139-45.

'Questerviews': using questionnaires in qualitative interviews as a method of integrating qualitative and quantitative health services research.

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  • 1Department of Health Sciences, University of York, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Multi-method approaches are increasingly advocated in health services research (HSR). This paper examines the use of standardised self-completion questionnaires and questions, during in-depth interviews, a technique termed 'questerviews'.

METHODS:

'Questerview' techniques were used in four empirical studies of health perceptions conducted by the authors. The studies included both standardised self-completion questions or questionnaires and in-depth interviews. Respondents were tape-recorded while they completed the standardised questionnaires and were encouraged to discuss their definitions of terms and responses to items in-depth. In all studies, 'questerviews' were fully transcribed and data analysis involved the scrutinising of transcripts to identify emergent themes.

RESULTS:

Responses to the standardised items led to rich sources of qualitative data. They proved to be useful triggers as respondents discussed their understanding and definitions of terms, often explaining their responses with stories from their own experiences. The items triggered detailed exploration of the complex factors that comprise health, illness and healthcare seeking, and gave considerable insight into the ways in which people respond to standardised questions. Apparently simple questions and response categories conceal considerable complexity.

CONCLUSIONS:

Inclusion of standardised survey questions in qualitative interviews can provide an easy and fruitful method to explore research issues and provide triggers to difficult or contested topics. Well designed and validated questionnaires produce data of immense value to HSR, and this value could be further enhanced by their use within a qualitative interview. We suggest that the technique of 'questerviews' is a tangible and pragmatic way of doing this.

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PMID:
15272971
DOI:
10.1258/1355819041403268
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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