This type of data is good for eliciting a subject’s experience, perceptions, and expectations about an issue or intervention and is usually taped or recorded and then analyzed using qualitative methods like thematic analysis. Some examples include:

  • self-reflection (Eg. experience as an IMG resident in Canada)
  • journaling (Eg.  experience working with inner city poor)
  • individual or group interviews (Eg.  determining the factors affecting a patient’s choice to go to sexual health clinic rather than their family doctor)
  • video or live observation(Eg.  determining if a waiting room toy box is utilized by sick children)
  • Creative arts as data (Eg. using photos, videos, art or personal writings to gather information about subjects and themes for analysis)


Method and Written Report Guidelines

(based on instructions for authors, Canadian Family Physician journal, July 12, 2011)

Qualitative Research

Manuscripts must be prepared in accordance with the “Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals” available on the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) website.

Abstract: Include Objective, Design, Setting, Participants, Method, Main findings, and Conclusion and should not exceed 300 words. Up to four key words (MeSH headings) should be included.

Qualitative studies should not exceed 2500 words, excluding abstract, tables and references.

Introduction:  Indicate the current state of knowledge in the area through a concise literature review. While many qualitative studies do not begin with a theoretical model as a framework, when such a model is used, it should be described. Specify what new information this study will provide. The overall purpose of the study and the specific research question should be clearly described.

Methods:  Include designsetting, and selection of participants (inclusion and exclusion criteria). Method chosen should be justified (eg, in-depth interviews, focus groups, participant observation). The study setting and the role of the researcher in the study should be described.

The development of the purposeful sample should be given to reflect the diversity of settings or circumstances of the study topic. Sample size should be adequate to answer the question by reaching saturation. Describe information (data) gathering, such as audiotaping, transcribing, and keeping field notes, in enough detail to permit readers to understand the process. Clearly describe procedure for data analysis to enhance trustworthiness. These procedures can include standardized coding techniques, triangulation, member-checking, use of field notes, theme saturation, and a conscious search for contradictory observations.

Findings: Another term used for “results” in qualitative studies. The interpretations, themes, or concepts created in the analysis should appear to flow logically from the description of the analytic process and should be supported by appropriate quotations. Cite enough quotations to ensure that readers get a sense of the richness and quality of the evidence supporting the analysis.

Discussion: State what new information has been discovered. Interpretations and conclusions drawn from the data should be consistent with the evidence presented in the study. The significance of this study in relation to other literature should be addressed and areas for further inquiry suggested. Speculation should be reasonable. Future directions for research should be indicated. Limitations and their effect on findings should be discussed.

Conclusion: Summarize the main findings of the study, relate back to the study objective, and be supported by the data found in the study.

References: Must be current and complete. Check references for accuracy, completeness, and proper format (according to the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals; http://www.icmje.org/). References should be numbered in the order they appear in the text and should be limited to works cited in the article. List all authors when there are 6 or fewer; when there are 7 or more, list the first 6, followed by et al.

Key Points: Include a short, point-form “key points” section including 1 to 4 points in 50 to 100 words. Key points should not duplicate the abstract or summarize the article; they should highlight what is new, different, unexpected or surprising in the article.

Tables and figures: Attach separately from the main manuscript. Tables and figures should clarify and supplement, but not duplicate, the text. Tables must be self-explanatory and concise. Prepare each table or figure on a separate page. Give titles to tables and captions to figures and other illustrations. Ensure that all tables, figures, and illustrations are cited at appropriate places in the text. Prepare tables in Word; no spreadsheets, please. Use table structure, not spaces and tabs to format tables.

Images and any other visual material: Attach as separate electronic files (do not paste them into the manuscript). These may include photographs, digital illustrations or extra photographs for use if space is available. Images should be sent in a JPG file format.

Authorship: Include a description in written report of what each resident/author contributed to their Resident Scholar Project. In addition, if several residents are involved in one Resident Scholar Project, include a statement to describe the processes they underwent to decide the order of the authors on the Resident Scholar Project written report.

Acknowledgements: Name everyone (e.g. faculty, professionals, research assistants) who contributed to the work of the Resident Scholar Project who are not authors in the Acknowledgements section, describing what they did. Also, describe all financial support of the Resident Project in the acknowledgements.


Guidelines for Authorship and Acknowledgements

Please follow the latest authorship definition provided by the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals listed below from the website: www.icmje.org as follows:

“All persons designated as authors should qualify for authorship, and all those who qualify should be listed. Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content. One or more authors should take responsibility for the integrity of the work as a whole, from inception to published article. Authorship credit should be based only on 1) substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; 2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and 3) final approval of the version to be published. Conditions 1, 2, and 3 must all be met. Acquisition of funding, the collection of data, or general supervision of the research group, by themselves, do not justify authorship.”

In addition, all residents and faculty should refer to the Department of Family Practice Authorship and Collaboration policy that was approved by the Post-Graduate Education Committee in 2003. This policy guides the order of authors for faculty and residents who work together on a Resident Scholar Project.