Qualitative research: Contributions to the study of drug use, drug abuse, and drug use(r)-related interventions

Mark Nichter, Gilbert Quintero, Mimi Nichter, Jeremiah Mock, Sohaila Shakib

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

72 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article describes how qualitative social science research has and can contribute to the emerging field of drug and alcohol studies. An eight-stage model of formative-reformative research is presented as a heuristic to outline the different ways in which qualitative research may be used to better understand micro and macro dimensions of drug use and distribution; more effectively design, monitor and evaluate drug use(r)-related interventions; and address the politics of drug/drug program representation. Tobacco is used as an exemplar to introduce the reader to the range of research issues that a qualitative researcher may focus upon during the initial stage of formative research. Ethnographic research on alcohol use among Native Americans is highlighted to illustrate the importance of closely examining ethnicity as well as class when investigating patterns of drug use. To familiarize the reader with qualitative research, we describe the range of methods commonly employed and the ways in which qualitative research may complement as well as contribute to quantitative research. In describing the later stages of the formative-reformative process, we consider both the use of qualitative research in the evaluation and critical assessment of drug use(r)-intervention programs, and the role of qualitative research in critically assessing the politics of prevention programs. Finally, we discuss the challenges faced by qualitative researchers when engaging in transdisciplinary research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1907-1969
Number of pages63
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Volume39
Issue number10-12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 7 2004

Keywords

  • Action research
  • Context
  • Dependency
  • Formative research
  • Political economics
  • Qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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