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Introducing Field Notes: A New Blog from the Advanced Qualitative Research Lab

Updated: Apr 16

Welcome to Field Notes! We are very excited to share our work, and it is our hope that this blog can act as a forum to:

  • Discuss how qualitative research can address important questions in research on health and mental health disparities

  • Describe tools and strategies to support qualitative research with marginalized and under-served communities

  • Integrate the lives and voices of those who do qualitative research with those who participate in qualitative research

For those familiar with qualitative research, field notes conjure images of detailed and thorough notes written down during the course of collecting and analyzing qualitative data. These notes capture the different meanings and understandings that emerge during the qualitative journey. In a similar vein, this blog aims to bring you research updates and insights as it relates to qualitative research. To start us out, this blog post introduces the exciting research projects currently underway in the lab. Over the next few months, we will share what we’ve learned together, both in terms of our preliminary research findings, but also our own thoughts, insights, and reflections on implementing qualitative strategies. So, let's get started!


The Adolescent and Self Harm Study


A research program at the University of Texas at Austin designed to identify why girls of color attempt suicide more often than other adolescent girls. Despite the larger risk this group faces in regard to suicide and self-harm, very little research has focused on the youth of color. Our goals are to explore the psychological vulnerability of teenage suicide attempters as they navigate their varied life contexts. We rely primarily on in-depth qualitative interviews to elicit data from both adolescents and their maternal caregivers about family dynamics and sociocultural histories that shaped the suicidal behavior.


Ethics in Practice: Exploring the Ethical Decision-Making Processes of Medical Students


In this project, we collaborate with Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College to analyze reflections from third-year medical students who've encountered an ethical dilemma. Using thematic analysis, lab members have coded these data into three main qualitative categories: the ethical issue at hand, solutions for the ethical issue, and strategies to prevent the ethical issue from occurring again. Despite the breadth of situations medical students encounter, common principles of bioethics are used to assess the gaps in the ethical learnings of these medical students.


Postpartum Access to Healthcare (PATH)


The PATH Project is led by the University of Texas System and the Texas Collaborative for Healthy Mothers and Babies (TCHMB) with support from the St. David's Foundation. PATH to investigate Central Texas women's access to and knowledge of perinatal and postpartum healthcare. Drawing on longitudinal qualitative techniques, participants have been interviewed multiple times from late pregnancy to eight months postpartum to document their experiences in childbirth, perceptions of medical care, early motherhood, and sources of social support.


The Adolescent Well Visit: Toward Youth Centered Care


In collaboration with People’s Community Clinic, this project focuses on adolescents’ attitudes towards their pre-health screening they receive upon their yearly well-check. This well-check consists of questions that revolve around topics such as the adolescent’s personal life, dating habits, drug and alcohol use, mental health, and sexual activities. The goal of this is to develop an environment in which adolescents feel comfortable openly discussing physical health, mental health, and health-risk behaviors with a medical professional.


We hope to share more of our work from each project and lab members soon. Thank you for reading!


Lauren Gulbas, Lauren Rosa and Maria de los Angeles Villarreal

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