Qualitative Research in Latin America: Critical Perspectives on Health

  • Francisco J. Mercado-Martínez University of Guadalajara


Qualitative research is a field of knowledge and practice that is expanding continuously throughout the health area in Latin America. However, few studies have focused on evaluating qualitative research on health in the region, or on evaluating its theoretical or operational characteristics. This study examines health research in Latin America that has a critical perspective and the way it views qualitative research. Three trends or schools of thought in the health field in Latin America were identified that had both a critical perspective and that use qualitative research: social medicine, participatory action research, and sociocultural studies. Each has been described, including the ways they incorporate qualitative research. Examples of empirical studies are presented, and some criticisms are discussed.