Advancing Evidence with Interpretive Description
The products of interpretive description are not in and of themselves “evidence,” and their precise role within the larger “evidence debate” is a somewhat complex matter. However, they represent a particular species of knowledge that can be profoundly relevant in shaping the sensitivities of the practice context, and in expanding consciousness of the larger spheres within which the structures of our societies evolve. In this chapter, we’ll conclude 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. Into this discussion we’ll insert the role and potential of qualitative research in general and interpretive description in particular for contributing to the community of evidence-informed decision making. We’ll outline 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. And I will share something of my personal experiences and observations with the potential interaction between interpretive description and social change. Through this discussion, we’ll conclude the book by returning to the passion that brought us into the research approach in the first place-working within practice disciplines to try to expand knowledge that has the potential of making a difference.