With the array of information available now through journals, seminars, societies, textbooks, and online searches, to name just a few sources, it is understandably difficult to determine on your own what constitutes relevant current practice and what does not.
The first step in approaching this task may be to clarify the differences among basic research methodologies and to examine how different methodologies are designed to answer different types of practice questions.
Qualitative research is not typically designed or intended to yield causal conclusions. It is generally intended to describe or explain behavior and thus should not be used to make conclusions about motivation or influence.
That said, qualitative research contributes a great deal of essential information.
With the N-of-8 techniques I developed, you can explore attitudes, opinions, beliefs, perceptions, interactions, practice structure, and behaviors in various settings.
A case may be based on:
- an individual customer, who has an established routine
- a practicing group of physicians or researchers, who have created common protocols
- a hospital, that uses a documented treatment algorithm or formulary
- a professional society, which has published practice guidelines
- an event, that exemplifies the experiences of the group
For example, I worked with a client with a treatment for a rare medical condition and collaborated with several research partners to report an analysis of eight cases of practices. Specifically, we collected observations of in-office activities, interviews with generalists and specialists, patient notes, videotapes of interactions, and other materials. The purpose of this study was to thoroughly examine the actual behaviors in these cases.
We gained valuable insight into the nature of diagnosis, patient communication, and most important, ideas for product packaging and training before the brand launch.
The major purpose of N-of-8 research is to understand current practice, product usage, and customer behavior.