Using Qualitative Research Methods In Healthcare Settings In Vietnam: Perspectives Of Ethics Committee Members And Researchers

Global Health Bioethics Network, Bursary funding

Principal Investigators:
Evelyne Kestelyn
Le Phuong Chi 
Dr Nguyen Ngo Quang, Administration of Science Technology and Training, Ministry of Health

Study Design:
Qualitative and quantitative research

This research project aims to explore the experiences and perspectives of ethics committee members and researchers regarding integrating qualitative research methods into clinical trials and studies within healthcare settings in Vietnam.


The use of qualitative research methods in hospital settings is not novel and often contributes valuable information on the local context, provides information on the social determinants relevant to the care-seeking processes, and makes the voices of individual patients and healthcare staff heard. As hospital and academic ethic committee (EC) structures expand to include a review of more types of research, including qualitative studies, the application of current ethical guidelines and practices may not be relevant to every type of study being conducted within the context.

Qualitative researchers often face hurdles during the review process, including the emphasis of positivist assumptions on EC application forms or unfamiliarity with qualitative research by EC members, making the review of such studies more complex.

A growing body of literature, as well as many anecdotal narratives, outlined the mismatch between institutional EC requirements and qualitative research paradigms over the past decade. Researchers from other contexts have noted several suggestions for enhanced communication between researchers using qualitative methods and ECs, EC guideline revisions for qualitative study review, and redefining expectations, to name a few. However, challenges still exist when trying to implement qualitative research studies within specific contexts, especially in LMICs, where there is a lack of specific guidance for qualitative research conducted in clinical settings.

There is a need to document the experiences and perspectives of IRB/ EC members and researchers regarding ethical review and implement a process for research using qualitative research methods in healthcare settings in order to have a better mutual understanding and make the EC review process more applicable to healthcare research using qualitative methods.


  • Identify and describe the social and ethical challenges associated with qualitative research methods in healthcare settings, from multiple stakeholders’ perspectives and throughout the research process;
  • Describe the perspectives and practices of ethics committee members during the review of studies using qualitative research methods in healthcare settings; Identify criteria to support the ethical review process of studies using qualitative research methods in healthcare settings.



Dr Nguyễn Ngô Quang


Dr Võ Nhị Hà

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