Qualitative methods are increasingly used within health economics research, but there is almost no specific material to guide the use of these methods in this context; there is very little that links them to the specific questions that (health) economists ask or that provides guidance on analyzing from an ‘economic’ or ‘resource-focused’ perspective.
Whilst the main themes within the book will look very similar to those in many other texts on qualitative research methods, they will:
- Apply the concepts familiar from qualitative methods to health economics issues in a way that is meaningful in this specific context;
- Work within an economic analytical approach where the analytic focus is on issues around scarcity and resource allocation;
Introduction: Why use qualitative methods in health economics? Joanna Coast / Part 1: Choices about methods / 1. Theoretical positions and methodological choices, Joanna Coast and Louise Jackson / 2. Designing qualitative research studies in health economics, Joanna Coast, Amanda Owen-Smith and Philip Kinghorn / 3. Understanding sampling, Amanda Owen-Smith and Joanna Coast / 4. Understanding data collection: interviews, focus groups and observation, Amanda Owen-Smith and Joanna Coast / 5. Understanding primary data analysis, Joanna Coast and Louise Jackson / 6. Understanding secondary data analysis, Hareth Al-Janabi and Amanda Owen-Smith / 7. Presenting qualitative data for health economics, Joanna Coast / Part II: Empirical case studies / A. Using qualitative methods to improve quantitative economic methods / 8. Qualitative methods in discrete choice experiments: two case studies , Jane Vosper, Joanna Coast and Terry Flynn/ 9. Using qualitative methods to develop a preference based health related quality of life measure for use in economic evaluation – the development of the Child Health Utility 9D, Katherine Stevens / 10. Constructing statement sets for use in Q methodology studies, Rachel Baker, Neil McHugh and Helen Mason / 11. Using non-participant observation and think-aloud to understand and improve modelling processes, Samantha Husband, Sue Jowett, Pelham Barton and Joanna Coast / 12. Incorporating novel qualitative methods within health economics: the use of pictorial tools, Alastair Canaway, Hareth Al-Janabi, Philip Kinghorn, Cara Bailey, and Joanna Coast / B. Using qualitative methods to improve understanding of quantitative economic findings / 13. Using think-aloud to understand measure completion, Cara Bailey, Philip Kinghorn and Joanna Coast / 14. Getting beyond the numbers: using qualitative methods to explore the validity of health state valuation techniques, Suzanne Robinson / 15. Use of deliberative methods to facilitate and enhance understanding of the weighting of survey attributes, Philip Kinghorn, Alastair Canaway, Cara Bailey and Joanna Coast / C: using qualitative methods to improve economic understanding / 16. Contributions of qualitative methods to the study of priority setting and resource allocation in health care, Neale Smith / 17. Using cost-effectiveness evidence in making priority gradings – the case of the Swedish national guidelines for heart diseases Nathalie Eckhard and Ann-Charlotte Nedlund / 18. Using qualitative methods in impact evaluation – the case of the results-based financing for maternal and neonatal care impact evaluation in Malawi Manuela De Allegri / 19. An assessment of an international declaration on aid effectiveness through qualitative methods at the country level Melisa Martinez-Álvarez / Conclusion: Moving forward – issues in qualitative methods in health economics, Joanna Coast and colleagues
Joanna Coast is a Professor in the Economics of Health & Care at the University of Bristol. She has published numerous papers on the role and implementation of qualitative methods in health economics and one of her main research areas is in end of life care.
This work will be welcomed by so many people in health economics and beyond, as more and more we realise the fundamental contributions that qualitative research brings to our endeavours to improve efficiency and equity in health care and other health-related activities. The work presented will also be of great use to research commissioners, policy makers and, ultimately, patients and the public. This volume is the product not just of leading qualitative researchers but some of the world’s best health economists; an exciting and insightful combination.
For decades Joanna Coast and her colleagues have challenged health economists to think outside the box. In this new edited work they provide readers with a comprehensive overview how one can use qualitative methods to advance the depth of understanding of problems that individuals and societies face. It is a must read.
In real life numbers are often useful and convincing, but usually fail to explain "why?". Well performed qualitative analysis can come in here to enlighten and guide researchers, advisers and policy-makers alike in understanding a situation and finding the most appropriate solution to a problem. Joanna Coast and co-authors have put together a reference book that is extremely useful in introducing such qualitative research, giving examples of applied research and at the same time cautioning against its unreflected use. The book sets standards and every researcher and practitioner wanting to supplement "number crunching" should have a copy.
Coast's new book is a clear, insightful, and educational volume that brings qualitative methods in health economics to life. With a superb lineup of leading scholars in the field, and including a wide range of theoretical and empirical approaches, this book is a must have for students and practitioners of health economics.
To paraphrase from the book itself this is an ‘antidote for arrogance’. Health economists need to start questioning their data and appreciating the value of qualitative research. Offering insights from think-aloud techniques to Q methodology to pictorial tools, a range of qualitative approaches and case studies are showcased. This comprehensive text embodies nearly two decades of research by Joanna Coast; the rest of us have a lot of catching up to do.
With easy-to-follow exemplars, Coast illustrates how to use qualitative research to develop and interpret quantitative research, and enhance economic understanding. She highlights novel qualitative applications for decision models; and deliberative approaches to health state valuation. As a leader in the field, Coast makes a comprehensive argument for why health economists can and should embrace qualitative research methods.
This is a compelling, comprehensive and much needed take on the use of qualitative methods in health economics. Without a doubt required reading for both students and academics alike.
Has the ‘cheerful face of the dismal science’ gone fluffy? Coast and colleagues provide robust justification why health economists, historically more comfortable with numbers than words, should recognise the strengths of qualitative methods. The book introduces perhaps unfamiliar terms, ontology and epistemology, before taking the reader carefully through the key methodological considerations and neatly using a series of case studies to illustrate the potential applications of qualitative methods in health economics.