Applying Qualitative Community Research
Pp. 147-160 (14)
Qualitative research perspectives, methods and data help shape educational pedagogies,
policies, practices and assessments. They provide insights and empirical evidence for services and
interventions. Development of a qualitative evidence base may help align mental health principles,
priorities, practices and services. Mixed research methods (MRM) and community-based participatory
research (CBPR) are important for cultural competency and cultural proficiency. Paradigms of
quantitative vs. qualitative fail to grasp complexities of health disparities and inequities. Nevertheless,
qualitative research has to be marketed. Its research questions, designs and findings must be aligned
with funders’ missions. Grant applications require careful consideration of numerous issues. Among
them are: preparatory groundwork; conceptualization; preparation of application; clarity and
interrelatedness of approach, methodology and design; investigators and consultants; human subjects;
research environment; budget; and submission. Failure to pay strict attention to each of these may lead
to rejection based on a non-fundable review score. Assessing qualitative research involves determining
strong associations between theory, meaning and constructs. Although not designed to test a theory or
measure a construct, qualitative research is based on sound conceptualization. Obtaining meaningful
data involves conceptual and consequent methodological clarity. Meaning-making (making meaning)
from data assists our understanding of mental health policies and practices. Assessment of qualitative
research instruction is not standardized or evidence-based. However, stemming from theory and
practice, it is possible to assert several principles of culturally proficient research.
Implications for Researchers, Practitioners and Educators, Mixed Methods, Marketing,
Writing Grant Applications, Assessing Qualitative Research, Cultural Proficiency.
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Howard University, Washington, D.C.