Formative qualitative research is foundational to the methodological development process of quantitative health preference research (HPR). Despite its ability to improve the validity of the quantitative evidence, formative qualitative research is underreported.
To improve the frequency and quality of reporting, we developed guidelines for reporting this type of research. The guidelines focus on formative qualitative research used to develop robust and acceptable quantitative study protocols and corresponding survey instruments in HPR.
In December 2018, a steering committee was formed as a means to accumulate the expertise of the HPR community on the reporting guidelines (21 members, seven countries, multiple settings and disciplines). Using existing guidelines and examples, the committee constructed, revised, and refined the guidelines. The guidelines underwent beta testing by three researchers, and further revisions to the guidelines were made based on their feedback as well as on comments from members of the International Academy of Health Preference Research (IAHPR) and the editorial board of The Patient: Patient-Centered Outcomes Research.
The guidelines have five components: introductory material (4 domains), methods (12), results/findings (2), discussion (2), and other (2). They are concordant with existing guidelines, published examples, beta-testing results, and expert comments.
Publishing formative qualitative research is a necessary step toward strengthening the foundation of any quantitative study, enhancing the relevance of its preference evidence. The guidelines should aid researchers, reviewers, and regulatory agencies and promote transparency within HPR more broadly.
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The authors of this manuscript are grateful to the members of the steering committee who commented on draft versions of this manuscript: Olalekan Lee Aiyegbusi, Esther de Bekker-Grob, Emuella Flood, Gisselle Gallego, Ellen Janssen, Rachel Milte, Axel Mühlbacher, Semra Ozdemir Van Dyk, Jason Ong, Thomas Poder, Fern Terris-Prestholt, and Albert Wu. The authors also wish to acknowledge Emily Mulivihill, who provided input on previous versions of this manuscript. The authors thank all members of the IAHPR and The Patient editorial board for their participation in this process. Finally, the authors acknowledge the authors who tested these guidelines and provided feedback: Richard De Abreu Lourenco, Maria McCarthy, Emily Holmes, and Seda Erdem.
No sources of funding were used to conduct this study or prepare this manuscript.
Conflict of Interest
Ilene L. Hollin, Benjamin M. Craig, Joanna Coast, Kathleen Beusterien, Caroline Vass, Rachael DiSantostefano, and Holly Peay have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this article.
This article is part of the topical collection “Formative qualitative evidence for health preference and outcomes research”.
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Hollin, I.L., Craig, B.M., Coast, J. et al. Reporting Formative Qualitative Research to Support the Development of Quantitative Preference Study Protocols and Corresponding Survey Instruments: Guidelines for Authors and Reviewers. Patient 13, 121–136 (2020) doi:10.1007/s40271-019-00401-x