'Just one interview’: making visible the hidden workload associated with qualitative research in healthcare

Julie Christine Menzies *, Carly Tooke, Timothy J Jones, Anna Lavis, Nigel Drury

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background: Appropriate costing and allocation of resources is vital to ensure that recruitment to a study is achieved on time and on target. However, there is little guidance concerning the workload associated with qualitative research.

Aim: To review the planned versus actual workloads in a qualitative sub-study following elective cardiac surgery in children.

Discussion: Parents of children approached for a clinical trial were invited to participate in a semi-structured interview to explore their views about making decisions concerning their children's participation in the trial. A workload audit was conducted using anticipated points of contact with participants, and the duration of activities identified in the protocol and Health Research Authority statement of activities; these were compared with timed activities documented by the research team.

Conclusion: The current system did not anticipate or capture the workload associated with conducting a relatively straightforward qualitative sub-study of a clinical trial with a research-engaged patient group.

Implications for practice: Understanding the hidden workload associated with qualitative research is vital in ensuring that project timelines, recruitment targets and funding for research staff are realistic.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNurse Researcher
Early online date27 Apr 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Apr 2023


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