Advanced Qualitative Methods hosted by the Qualitative Methods Learning Collaborative
Explaining Complex Outcomes Using Qualitative Data: Pairing Qualitative and Configurational Methods To Evaluate Veteran Community Reintegration
Edward Miech, EdD
Nicholas Rattray, PhD
Seminar date: 3/14/2022
Description: Qualitative health research does not necessarily require an outcome (e.g., thematic analysis of implementation barriers and facilitators). Sometimes, though, qualitative data can play an important role in explaining a complex outcome, accounting for both nuance and context. Matrix displays are one approach for identifying cross-case patterns linking qualitative conditions with outcomes of interest, but complex or large datasets can present challenges. Recently, configurational analysis has emerged as a new analytic option that allows qualitative researchers to systematically evaluate an entire dataset, large or small, and identify the crucial difference-making conditions. In this study, the researchers pair two distinct approaches—qualitative thematic analysis and configurational analysis—to explain a complex outcome (veteran community reintegration) using interview data. Configurational analysis identified specific solution pathways to the outcome, whereas qualitative thematic analysis provided in-depth, context-sensitive explanations for different elements of the model.