Qualitative Health Research Network


Lori Frohwirth, Sebastian Karcher, and Jennifer Mueller

Theory and Practice of Transparent Qualitative Health Research

Seminar details

Lori Frohwirth, Sebastian Karcher and Jennifer Mueller gave the QHRN seminar in November. 

Title: Theory and Practice of Transparent Qualitative Health Research 

Date: 12th November 2020

Time: 15:00-16:00

Location: Zoom


There is now a widely held consensus that more transparent research provides better outcomes for individual researchers, for scientific communities, and for society at large. Principles of transparency are also increasingly being written into funding requirements and incorporated into journal policies. Most efforts towards transparent research to date have focused on quantitative research and the data that underpin it. The demand for scientific transparency, however, is equally relevant to qualitative research and data, even though sharing qualitative data poses unique challenges, both logistically and ethically. In a collaboration that now enters its third year, researchers from the Guttmacher Institute and the Qualitative Data Repository are exploring how to maximize the transparency of qualitative research in health, without compromising on qualitative research’s unique contributions and while maintaining the security of confidentiality of sensitive information shared by participants.

We introduce general concepts of research transparency and how they relate (and do not relate) to qualitative work and then describe their application in two case studies: the design and application of a “transparency checklist” in a complex longitudinal qualitative study for which data cannot be shared, and considerations around confidentiality and informed consent for a different study for which de-identified data will be shared.


Lori Frohwirth is a Senior Research Associate at the Guttmacher Institute. Her work focuses on abortion and contraceptive use in the United States and the use of qualitative methods in public health research. She is helping lead Guttmacher’s efforts to apply the principles of production and analytic transparency to the Institute's qualitative work. Ms. Frohwirth holds a BA from New York University.

Sebastian Karcher is the Associate Director of the Qualitative Data Repository at Syracuse University. His main interests are in qualitative data management, data curation, and the integration of technology into scholarly workflows. Sebastian holds a PhD in political science from Northwestern University and has published in both social science journals such as International Studies Quarterly and Socio-Economic Review and information science journals such as Nature Scientific Data, Data Science Journal, and IASSSIST Quarterly.

Jennifer Mueller is a Research Associate at the Guttmacher Institute. Her research interests include sexual behavior, contraceptive use, and access to sexual and reproductive health services. She received an MPH in epidemiology and maternal and child health from the University of Washington.

Seminar recording

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