Qualitative Health Research Network


Open science and qualitative research: current issues and ways forward

This workshop discussed how the qualitative research community is, could and should be responding to the Open Science movement

Seminar details

Title: Open science and qualitative research: current issues and ways forward

Date: Monday 6th February, 2023

Time: 14:00-15:00 (UK time)


Broadly, the 'Open Science' movement advocates for making scientific research open and accessible to all. As well as encouraging open access to scientific papers, 'Open Science' often refers to making data and analysis code freely available in order that results can be replicated by others. In quantitative paradigms this is now widely seen as best practice, and there are a number of tools such as the Open Science Framework that support this.

Many funders require project outputs to be published under open access terms, and journals often ask for data and analysis code to be made available in a repository to enable replication. However, while wider accessibility of research outputs is relatively uncontroversial, the suggestion that data should be made available for replication purposes is at odds with many qualitative paradigms. The idea that, for example, a reflexive thematic analysis could be 'replicated' is in opposition to the core elements of this method, where the individual interpretation by a researcher is key. In addition, while quantitative data can typically be anonymised fairly simply, anonymising qualitative data can be much harder, as context, phrasing, language used etc. can sometimes easily identify participants. These are tricky issues to deal with when many journals have, with laudable intentions, put policies in place to encourage the sharing of data.

This workshop will hear from Professor Fiona Stevenson, Dr Katherine Tamminen and Dr Amy Russell who are experts in qualitative research. Each speaker will outline how they believe the qualitative research community is, could, or should respond to open science movements, and will include a section for questions and discussion with workshop participants.

This session will be chaired by Dr Nicola Morant, Associate Professor in the UCL Division of Psychiatry, and a specialist in qualitative research methods in mental health. As a qualitative methodologist, she works across numerous mixed-methods research projects, leading qualitative work that aims broadly to explore and understand the experiences and perspectives of stakeholders (particularly service users) in mental health, and to bring these insights into treatment and service development. Nicola is co-director of the UCL QHRN.

Fiona Stevenson is Professor of Medical Sociology at University College London. She has built her career as a medical sociologist while working in departments of primary care. Her research interests are in (i) the construction of decision making about medical care, (ii) the impact of complex interventions, technology and treatment adherence on communication between health care professionals and patients in a range of medical settings and (iii) the implementation of research into practice. Fiona has expertise in a range of qualitative approaches, including conversation analysis, and has published extensively using sociological theory to inform applied research. She co-developed and co-facilitates the Qualitative Research Methods in Health short course. She has a particular interest in the reuse of qualitative data and is leading a project to develop a repository to provide safe storage and access to qualitative data sets.

Katherine Tamminen is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Toronto. Her research draws on various qualitative approaches including grounded theory, interpretative phenomenological analysis, narrative analysis, case studies, and interpretive description to examine topics of stress, coping, emotions, and athletes’ experiences of adversity in sport. She has published several articles and book chapters on the use of qualitative methods, including a review of open science practices in the field of sport and exercise psychology, and an overview of considerations for making informed choices about engaging in open qualitative research practices. She is an instructor within the Center for Critical Qualitative Health Research at the University of Toronto and an Executive Board member-at-large with the International Society for Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise. Katherine is also a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.

Amy Russell is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Leeds. Her research focuses on addressing health inequalities in research design and governance, and clinical practice for traditionally “under-served” or “hard to reach” populations. She coordinated the largest UK trial with people with learning disabilities and diabetes and works with Diabetes UK to expand their offer for professionals managing diabetes in people with a learning disability. Her current research, funded by Wellcome and NIHR and collaborating with the HRA, aims to improve inclusion in applied health research, with a particular focus on people with a learning disability and qualitative methods. She has a long-standing collaboration with the inclusive organisation CHANGE in Leeds and strives to integrate co-working and co-production models into applied health research. She works closely with the WHO Disability Team, collaborating on the Global Report on health Equity for People with a Disability 2022 and is PI on an AHRC interdisciplinary Network to explore the role of arts and humanities methods to improve sexual and reproductive health care for women with disabilities. As a member of the NIHR Qualitative Inclubator workstream she leads on their work to explore open data sharing in qualitative research.

Watch the recording

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/0AC6516I