The Contribution of Qualitative Methodologies to Rural Health Research: An Analysis of the Development of a Study of the Health and Well-Being

  • Desley Jan Harvey James Cook University


Understanding the influence of rural social determinants on health can contribute to alleviating disparities between the health of urban and rural populations. Qualitative methodologies have made a substantial contribution to our understanding of rural health issues. However, there are few published case studies of the process of designing qualitative studies which can contribute to a better understanding of how to conduct and evaluate qualitative research. This paper adds to the methodological literature by describing the process of developing a methodology for a study of how women in remote areas achieve health and well-being. In the paper the author documents the process and illustrates an individual’s search for a method that would suit her research problem and her personal and professional ideology. Metaethnography, constructivist grounded theory, and dialogic/performance narrative methods are identified as a qualitative methods particularly suited to health and other areas of rural social research.

Author Biography

Desley Jan Harvey, James Cook University
Desley Harvey has a background in social work and health promotion. She is currently working in the area of rural women's health and conducting a doctoral study of how women in remote Australia maintain health and wellbeing.