Qualitative research and the BJGP

Kath Checkland (@khcheck) is a GP and a Professor at the University of Manchester. She is a passionate advocate of the value of qualitative research, and is a member of the BJGP editorial board. On Saturday, the British Medical Journal published an open letter, signed by 75 senior academics (of which I was one), calling for the journal to rethink its current stance on the publication of qualitative research. The letter was prompted by the publication on Twitter of an extract from a rejection letter stating: ‘I am sorry to say that qualitative studies are an extremely low priority for The BMJ. Our research shows that they are not as widely accessed, downloaded, or cited as other research.’ This stance represents a change in policy for the BMJ. Not only has the journal published some important and influential qualitative papers (for example see Gabbay et al 2004), but it was also at the forefront of promoting the use of qualitative methods in health research, publishing a number of highly-regarded series of ‘education and debate’ papers exploring the value of qualitative methods and providing a superb introduction to a variety of methods for the novice researcher (Pope and Mays 1995, Pope et al 2000, Pope and Mays 2009). In what would seem to represent a significant change in policy, an editorial accompanying the letter argues that: ‘qualitative studies are usually...

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Top 10 most read BJGP research articles published in 2015

These are the top 10 most read research articles based on full text downloads from bjgp.org. 1. Child obesity cut-offs as derived from parental perceptions: cross-sectional questionnaire. http://bjgp.org/content/65/633/e234 Parental perceptions and clinical definitions of child obesity are known to diverge; however, the extent of the discrepancy has not been documented. This study characterises parental classifications of obesity and identifies sociodemographic characteristics that predict misclassification. Also, BMI centile cut-offs for weight status are established as derived from parental perceptions. 2. Does mindfulness improve outcomes in patients with chronic pain? Systematic review and meta-analysis. http://bjgp.org/content/65/635/e387.full This current review looks at management of non-malignant chronic pain as a whole, includes only randomised controlled trials, and uniquely focuses on humanistic outcomes such as pain acceptance and perceived pain control. These are of particular relevance with this self-help technique, as well as clinical and economic outcomes. 3. Help seeking for cancer ‘alarm’ symptoms: a qualitative interview study of primary care patients in the UK. http://bjgp.org/content/65/631/e96.full The Model of Pathways to Treatment highlights the importance of understanding patient appraisal and decision-to-consult processes for improving earlier diagnosis. Little is known about how people make decisions about visiting their GP for potential cancer symptoms in everyday life, without a researcher-imposed cancer perspective. This is the first qualitative, community-based study to assess how people respond to cancer ‘alarm’ symptoms outside of the cancer context. The results not only highlighted...

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Altmetrics: now available for BJGP articles

The world of scholarly publishing is changing rapidly, partly in response to digital publication, and also with more focus on the dissemination and implementation of published research. Traditional bibliometrics, such as the impact factor, have been used to measure aggregated citation rates as a proxy measure of journal quality. There is now more interest in looking at article-level and author-level metrics. Peer-review publication is one component of an ‘ecosystem’ of dissemination, which includes, for example, citations, news and media coverage, discussion on social media and websites, and inclusion in practice guidelines. These new metrics – ‘altmetrics’ – defined as anything that is not a citation, can be captured in a number of ways. The BJGP has launched the Altmetric donut, a colourful, arresting image which depicts the various media which have paid attention to a given article, with a numerical score reflecting the number of ‘mentions’. The Altmetric buttons, appearing within the ‘Info’ tab of each article, are not substitutes for traditional bibliometrics, but we think will become a useful addition to understanding how research results ‘get out’ and are incorporated into...

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Quality indicators for child health in the UK

Peter Gill is a paediatric resident at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario and an Honorary Fellow at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford. Follow Peter on Twitter @peterjgill In the December 2014 issue of the British Journal of General Practice, several colleagues and I published a set of paediatric quality indicators for UK primary care.[1] The paper represents the main findings from my doctoral thesis completed under the supervision of Prof David Mant and Anthony Harnden at Oxford University. It is exciting to see the paper in print (it provided a morale ‘boost’ after working a stretch of nights) accompanied by a thoughtful editorial.[2] But having returned to the ‘coal face’, I am reminded of the integral role of quality indicators in clinical practice. Why develop indicators? Caring for children is an important part of UK general practice yet several studies have demonstrated that care quality can be improved. However, only 3% of Quality Outcomes Framework (QOF) markers relate to children and there is no set of child-relevant indicators for UK primary care. For years, the call to develop and integrate child health indicators into QOF has fallen on deaf ears despite evidence that leaving out indicators probably has negatives consequences for care quality. Therefore, we sought to develop a set of quality indicators for children and adolescents which cover a range of paediatric care...

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The British Journal of General Practice and BJGP Open are bringing research to clinical practice. This is where we add the debate and opinion to help ensure everyone benefits from that research.

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