We use well-established methods of qualitative research which is based on the pioneering work of our UK partners, The Health Experiences Research Group (HERG) in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at University of Oxford. The ‘DIPEx’ methodology has been recommended by the UK’s NHS National Knowledge Service as the ‘gold standard’ for research into patient experiences. The results of our studies are published in peer-reviewed, international journals. The rigour of our research is the unique feature of the DIPEx approach to health experiences.

Our researchers are experienced in qualitative research methods, and receive accredited training in the DIPEx method. Researchers are supported by an experienced ‘buddy’ and an Expert Advisory Panel. Primary and support researchers meet regularly during data analysis to ensure data validity and methodological rigour.
Participants and Recruitment

We conduct face-to-face, semi-structured, audio- and video-recorded, narrative interviews with between 40 to 50 people, from as wide a range of backgrounds as possible, concerning their personal experiences of health and illness. With the help of an Expert Advisory Panel we recruit via health professionals, community centres, support groups, and consumer organisations. Participants are selected according to ‘maximum variation sampling’, to ensure that a wide range of experiences and views are captured. Interviews typically take place in participants’ homes or workplaces at a time convenient for them. Participants have the option of using a pseudonym to further protect their identities. Interviews generally last 60 – 120 minutes.

All interviews are transcribed and the transcripts are returned to participants for checking. Data are organised and analysed using the constant comparative method with ongoing input from our Expert Advisory Panel. The data are further explored for divergent views, to check the robustness of developing themes. Participants are contacted by telephone if follow-up is needed.

The research forms the basis of health information for the general public that is disseminated via country members’ websites. The themes identified during the analysis stage inform the writing of detailed web pages covering every aspect of the journey described by interviewees from diagnosis and sharing the news to treatment decisions and impact on work and family life. These are illustrated with approximately 250 video, audio and written excerpts from the interviews. We also publish our research findings in peer reviewed, international journals and our researchers regularly present at international conferences.