From a perspective of patient-centered healthcare, exploring patients' (a) preconceptions, (b) treatment experiences, (c) quality of life, (d) satisfaction, (e) illness understandings, and (f) design are all critical components in improving primary health care and research. Utilizing qualitative approaches to discover patients' experiences can provide valuable information for practitioners and investigators alike. In this paper, the author describes how researchers can select from among five major qualitative designs (i.e., primary qualitative research, qualitative evaluation, collaborative inquiry, mixed method, and qualitative meta-study) and five preeminent qualitative methodologies (i.e., descriptive, phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography, and narrative) to create studies to meet their patient-centered research needs.


Patient Experience, Qualitative Research, Research Design, Patient-Centered Healthcare


An earlier version of this paper was presented December 4-5, 2010, at the 23rd Annual Primary Care Research Methods & Statistics Conference, San Antonio, Texas USA.

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