Users' guide to the surgical literature: how to assess a qualitative study

4 June, 2018

With thanks to ASQUS (a forum used by the international research community to share methodological developments in qualitative evidence synthesis)

CITATION: Users' guide to the surgical literature: how to assess a qualitative study.

Gallo L; BHSc, Murphy J, Braga LH, Farrokhyar F, Thoma A.

Can J Surg. 2018 Jun;61(3):208-214.


Qualitative research contributes to the medical literature through the observation, description and interpretation of theories about social interactions and individual experiences as they occur in their natural setting. This type of research has the potential to enhance the understanding of surgeons' and patients' preferences, attitudes and beliefs, as well as assess how these may change with time. To date, there is no widely accepted standard for the methodological assessment of qualitative research. Despite ongoing debate, this article seeks to familiarize surgeons with the basic techniques for the critical appraisal of qualitative studies in the surgical literature.


Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, HIFA Project on Access to Health Research

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 18,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on five global forums in three languages. He also currently chairs the Dgroups Foundation (, which supports 800 communities of practice on international development, health and social justice. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: