Entering the Field
This chapter describes the discussion of interpretive description with some comments on the evidence culture that has become so dominant in health care and other public policy circles. It talks about the role and potential of qualitative research in general and interpretive description in particular for contributing to the community of evidence-informed decision making. The chapter outlines some of the methods and techniques that are being worked out for elevating the potential of individual studies to contribute to a larger qualitative evidentiary conversation. Various authors advocate educating the larger world to appreciate the products that derive from the use of qualitative approaches, convincing the scientific community to afford qualitative work its rightful place as important evidence, and indeed challenging policy decision makers to make full use of the body of qualitative research when making evidence-based decisions. Thorne and colleagues examined perceptions of health care communication from the perspective of patients with four different chronic diseases.