Open Access

Seeing the bigger picture: Qualitative research in the Zoom® age

   | Dec 30, 2021


Participants in clinical trials for new haemophilia treatments are routinely asked to complete quality of life (QoL) questionnaires using validated and disease-specific instruments. Yet too often in clinical research we know very little about the life stories of individuals, making it difficult to know how they have been affected by a new therapy and what exactly has changed for the better – or for the worse. In my own research, I wanted to understand the differences that new treatments are really making to people's everyday lives. While traditional QoL instruments can be helpful, using a qualitative approach that involves speaking directly with people with haemophilia (PwH) and their family members has enabled me find out what has really been going on their lives, including impacts on the wider family. The Covid pandemic and the need to maintain social distancing changed the way in which my research has been carried out, but in fact provided an opportunity to see an even bigger picture. I believe that using videoconferencing platforms to conduct interviews and focus groups has both allowed me to see more of the world in which the participants live and has enabled participants to be more relaxed and open in their conversations, resulting in a potentially richer dataset. While this approach to qualitative QoL research should not replace interviews and focus groups, the use of videoconferencing should be considered as another methodology researchers can and should use to enable them to glean the richest data possible. Qualitative interviews offer an important complementary addition to the validated QoL measures used in clinical trials, enabling us to hear more about where improvements have occurred, where further improvements can be made, and the real-life impact of a new treatment for PwH and their families.

Publication timeframe:
Volume Open
Journal Subjects:
Medicine, Basic Medical Science, other, Clinical Medicine, Pharmacy, Pharmacology