Differential qualitative analysis (DQA) was developed as a pragmatic qualitative health methodology for the exploration of individual differences, behaviours, and needs within heterogeneous samples. Existing qualitative methodologies tend to emphasise the identification of general principles, an approach that can lead to standardised treatment, care, and medicine. DQA emphasises the identification of individual variation, in order to inform personalised healthcare. DQA comprises an accessible three-stage approach: first individual profiles are explored and differentiated into research-relevant subgroups; then each subgroup is analysed, and findings identified; finally, the data is analysed in its entirety and overall and subgroup findings are presented. DQA was developed as a new qualitative approach to: (1) emphasise the identification of person and patient-centered findings; (2) facilitate the analysis of sample heterogeneity, including variation in responses and intervention outcomes; (3) provide a convenient, pragmatic, systematic, and transparent methodology; (4) bridge the qualitative-quantitative divide with a mutually accessible approach. DQA may be particularly relevant for mixed methods research, early-stage interventions, and research exploring personalised and patient-centred care, and integrative medicine.


Person-Centered Research, Patient-Centered Research, Personalised Healthcare, Mixed Methods, Subgroup Analysis

Author Bio(s)

Freda Gonot-Schoupinsky gained an MBA from IMD in 1989, and an MSc in Health Psychology from the University of Derby in 2018. Her research interests include laughter and humour, well-being, healthy aging, and research methodology. In research supervised by Dr. Gulcan Garip, she developed and tested the Laughie laughter prescription, and conceived FRAME-IT, an evaluation and planning framework. She is currently researching the impact of laughter on sleep, well-being, and mental health in university students, in collaboration with Zayed University, UAE. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Freda.Research@gmail.com.

Dr Gulcan Garip is an Academic Lead for online Psychology programmes at the University of Derby. She is a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society (BPS), registered Health Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council, and a member of the BPS Division of Health Psychology. Dr Garip’s expertise lies in qualitative research and qualitative analysis. Her research interests include developing and evaluating behavioural and nature-based interventions for the self-management of health and illness, in people living with long-term conditions and their caregivers. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: G.Garip@derby.ac.uk.

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