Applying Qualitative Methods in Implementation Research: Developments and Innovations

Qualitative methods are central to implementation research, which focuses on integrating evidence-based practices into “real-world” settings and contexts. Historically, implementation scientists have relied primarily on semi-structured interviews to characterize knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of various stakeholders involved in implementation. As the field has evolved, a broader set of qualitative methods has been called upon, with increasing focus on capturing complex implementation phenomena such as adaptations to interventions and strategies, contextual shifts, relationships and power dynamics, change over time, stakeholder engagement, and sustainability.

This course complements the introductory course on implementation research and qualitative methods that has been offered by ResearchTalk for several years. This new course addresses innovations and developments in qualitative methods in implementation research, such as:

  • The use of ethnographic methods;
  • The application of theoretical/conceptual models in study design, data collection, and data analysis, e.g., how to apply models while maintaining a spirit of qualitative inquiry and emergent discovery;
  • Qualitative approaches to multilevel stakeholder engagement; and
  • Adaptations of community-based participatory research approaches in implementation science.

Methodological concepts will be illustrated via examples from implementation research in the context of varied settings such as healthcare organizations, educational institutions, and communities. We will also explore future directions in qualitative methods as practiced in implementation research.

Participants will be provided with materials and bibliographies to support the practice of qualitative methods in implementation research. The course will draw on material from three resources:

NOTE: Course content assumes working knowledge of implementation science.