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Responding to Change: Perspectives from Qualitative Health Research

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UCL QHRN Workshop Call for Papers
Responding to Change: Perspectives from Qualitative Health Research
Monday, 25 June 2018, 10am–4pm
Woburn House Conference Centre, London WC1H 9HQ

Keynote address: Catherine Pope, Professor of Medical Sociology at University of Southampton

The challenge


Healthcare environments across the globe are undergoing major change across multiple dimensions as they respond to changing populations, global austerity, rapid technological advances, personalised medicine, and ongoing demands for more patient involvement. Such changes have significant social consequences for patients, practitioners, policymakers and others, including major disruptions to established forms of care, the allocation of resources and the inscription of new roles, responsibilities and relationships. Empirically robust and theoretically relevant qualitative health research (QHR) can create nuanced and people-centred forms of knowledge which attend to the complex arrangements of care and the dynamics of power therein. As such, we believe that qualitative researchers are well placed to help local healthcare communities and national level policymakers anticipate and navigate change and its social consequences.

However, studying change is challenging both conceptually and methodologically. It is further complicated in that qualitative health researchers are themselves influenced by changes in funding, access to research settings, and freedom of movement amid geopolitical instability. These factors compromise the potential for academic collaborations, the scope of analysis, and ultimately the capacity to inform policy and practice. Difficulties are exacerbated by QHR’s marginalised status within biomedical communities, where it is often overlooked at the broader levels of research funding and healthcare policymaking.

The workshop

In this workshop, we seek to generate dialogue on key issues facing contemporary QHR in the study of change and its social consequences, broadly conceived. We invite submissions that identify challenges, interrogate conceptual and methodological approaches or provide suggestions for an enriched and innovative take on the study of change in relation to health and healthcare.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Studying change – Conceptual and methodological issues in studying change in health and healthcare; qualitative research contributions to the study of change (small scale change, major system change, etc.); the study of change through historical approaches; longitudinal approaches and the documentation of change; methodological innovations to capture the dynamics of change.
  • Responding to change – The development of research approaches and methodologies that are responsive to changing environments (i.e., flexible designs); the development of research approaches to ensure the timely dissemination of findings to inform changes in practice (i.e., rapid research approaches).
  • Managing change – Working in changing academic environments; the impact of changes in funding; freedom of movement; international collaborations and priorities in academic institutions.

We welcome a variety of submissions including empirical and conceptual work on change, and methodological reflections on how to study it. Our main intention is to stimulate discussion about key issues in crafting the future of QHR. As such, we envisage that people will pose thoughtful ideas and possibly strategies to address the challenges we face in improving healthcare using qualitative methods. The day will be limited to a small number of participants to promote a collaborative and interactive forum.

This workshop is open to anyone engaged in QHR and interested in the theme of change, regardless of academic discipline. It will lay early foundations for a subsequent symposium, planned for 2019. Our broad aims across these two events are:

  1. To identify contemporary challenges to researchers studying change and propose strategies to overcome them; and,
  2. To help the QHR community develop essential knowledge relevant to and in conjunction with patients, healthcare practitioners, policymakers, patient advocates, and the public at large.

We anticipate two outcomes from the day:

  1. A framework to guide themes of our 2019 Qualitative Health Research Network Symposium; and,
  2. A position paper summarising the discussion, which will be submitted for publication.

Submission process

If you would like to be considered for the event, please submit a 250-word abstract to qhrn@ucl.ac.uk outlining your challenge or idea and be sure to include your name, affiliation and contact details. Selections will be based on the merit of the idea and its connection to the themes of the event. Abstract submissions must be made by 5pm, GMT, on 02 March 2018. Selections will be made early April 2018.

After submission

Successful delegates will be required to submit a longer outline by 18 May in the form of a short paper or think piece, which will be disseminated to other delegates for reading prior to the event (1000 words maximum). On the day, delegates will each be given the opportunity for a short presentation and discussion of their paper.

Other information

This workshop is organised by the UCL Qualitative Health Research Network and generously funded by the Wellcome Trust. The workshop will be free to attend and places will be limited to those with selected abstracts. Please see our website for updates and FAQs. Questions unanswered by our FAQ page can be directed to qhrn@ucl.ac.uk


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