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Qualitative Remote Data Collection in Health and Social Care Research (QRDC Study)

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This project is designed to explore what difference it makes to the quality of research findings in health and social care when research is conducted remotely (online, over phone/email etc.) compared to face to face/in-person.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many qualitative researchers to collect their data remotely. However, we know very little about the way these remote methods impact the quality of data collected, nor its impacts on the participants. It is not clear whose voices might be missed when remote methods are used, and there is little existing guidance on which remote methods work best, and under what circumstances.

Through reviews of literature and interviews with researchers and research participants who took part in health and social care research remotely, this project aims to produce guidance for researchers wanting to conduct research remotely to ensure that it is of the highest quality possible.

Key Project Aims

This project aims to:

  • Bring the research literature together: Synthesise existing research evidence on data quality when produced by remote qualitative methods, as compared to in-person methods.

  • Generate new empirical data from researchers and research participants on the experience of conducting research remotely, and its impacts on research findings.

  • Produce a framework of guidance to support qualitative researchers using remote methods to ensure they generate high quality data in the field of health and social care research.

Findings and Relevance

The QRDC study has been designed to incorporate public perspectives from the outset. A Public Reference Group (PRG) will meet regularly throughout the project to advise on the conduct of the research and its outputs.

The project will ultimately produce guidance known as the Qualitative Remote Data Collection Framework (QRDCF) which will be made available to researchers throughout the world to support the design and implementation of future remote qualitative studies in health and social care.


This work is supported by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) [grant reference: MR/W021161/1]

 Jointly funded by the Medical research Council and the National Institute for Health and Care Research