Smith, Joanna, Bekker, Hilary and Cheater, Francine (2011) Theoretical versus pragmatic design in qualitative research. Nurse Researcher, 18 (2). pp. 39-51. ISSN 1351-5578

For many years, discussions of the relative merits of generic and theoretical approaches to qualitative research have divided researchers while overshadowing the need to focus on addressing clinical questions. Drawing on the challenges of designing a study that explored parents’ experiences of living with children with hydrocephalus, the authors of this paper argue that over-adherence to, and deliberations about, the philosophical origins of qualitative methods is undermining the contributions qualitative research could make to evidence-based health care and suggest qualitative methods should stand alone.

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