New Centre for Qualitative Applied Health Research at King's College London
The Qualitative Applied Health Research Centre (QUAHRC) at King’s College London is a new cross-faculty initiative designed to connect qualitative researchers and stimulate debate around theory, methods and practice.
With a focus on harnessing qualitative methods to understand and improve health, health interventions and care, the centre’s approach to research prioritises the lived experiences of service users and their families, particularly in disadvantaged and marginalised populations.
Dr Vanessa Lawrence, QUAHRC Director and Senior Lecturer in Qualitative Social Sciences, said:
Qualitative methods are used across King’s College London to help us understand how physical and mental health problems are experienced and managed. The QUAHRC will showcase qualitative research projects that seek to improve therapeutic interventions and health care by prioritising the perspectives of the individuals and communities affected, and the professionals who support them. It offers a platform for us to share methodological expertise, to support junior researchers and to challenge more experienced social scientists to engage with methodological approaches across disciplines and to reflect upon their own approach to qualitative research.
Consisting of a core team of qualitative researchers within the Health Services and Population Research Department at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience with expertise in designing and conducting high quality qualitative research, the QUAHRC is open to all who are currently conducting or wish to learn how to conduct rigorous qualitative research, or explore new, innovative approaches to research. The centre aims to facilitate inter-faculty collaborations and break down silos of knowledge across King’s College London.
Prof Alan Simpson, QUAHRC Deputy Director and Professor of Mental Health Nursing, said:
We are keen to promote and support good quality qualitative research, whether in stand-alone studies or as part of a mixed methods design. We are interested in innovative approaches and developments in participatory and co-designed qualitative research that is aimed at understanding and improving healthcare and outcomes.
A core mission aim for the centre is to support junior researchers and build research capacity through providing advice, training, and opportunities for networking. Qualitative collaboration can also be requested on grants and the centre is embedded with the King’s College London Clinical Trials Unit. Expert advice on the design and conduct of qualitative research within studies is vital to ensure that data collection and analyses are rigorous, and the study findings credible and authentic.
In addition to this support, the QUAHRC aims to display the depth and breadth of applied qualitative health research within the QUAHRC and across King’s College London more widely. Using traditional and innovative methods, the research conducted by the centre seeks to understand and to improve therapeutic interventions and health care by prioritising the lived experiences and perspectives of key stakeholders. In doing so, the QUAHRC strives to consolidate and expand the rigorous application of qualitative methods within the health field.
The QUAHRC is supported by Partnership Affiliations with the ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health, King’s College London Clinical Trials Unit and National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration South London.
For more information and access to resources, please visit the new QUAHRC website, which provides access to the QUAHRC Help Desk (a free consultation service for the design and conduct of applied qualitative health research), resources and case studies, a series of podcasts, blogs, news items and interviews, as well as details on the four-day QUAHRC Summer School.