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Daily Archives: July 16, 2016

Sophisticated Research Design in
Chiropractic and Manipulative Therapy: Part 2

By |July 16, 2016|Chiropractic Research|

Sophisticated Research Design in
Chiropractic and Manipulative Therapy;
“What You Learn Depends on How You Ask.”
Part B.   Qualitative Research;   Quality vs. Quantity

The Chiro.Org Blog

SOURCE:   Chiropractic Journal of Australia 2016; 44 (2): 1–14

Lyndon G. Amorin-Woods, BAppSci(Chiropractic), MPH

Senior Clinical Supervisor;
Murdoch University Chiropractic Clinic
School of Health Professions,
Discipline of Chiropractic
Murdoch University South Street campus,
90 South Street, Murdoch,
Western Australia 6150

Enjoy Part 1:   Quantitative Research: Size Does Matter

Enjoy Part 3:   Mixed Methods: “Why Can’t Science And Chiropractic Just Be Friends?”

The plethora of quantitative evidence in chiropractic science stands in contrast to the relative dearth of qualitative studies. This phenomenon exists in spite of the intuitive impression that chiropractic is indeed suitable for investigation with a variety of qualitative methodologies. There is a long tradition of qualitative investigation in the social sciences, which focuses on gathering rich experiential data, recognising both that health research deals with ‘real’ people, and that people are not predictable or pre-determined. Qualitative chiropractic research can examine various aspects of a “package” of care and the participants “care journey” and the interplay between verbal and nonverbal, including tactile interactions, which may be diagnostic or therapeutic. Research in chiropractic ideally integrates experience, neurobiology and nonlinear dynamic thinking. Many chiropractic scientists are used to only working with linear models, consequently they may be reluctant to adopt the nonlinear framework of complexity theory and recognise that the analysis of lived experience including subjective phenomena can be an integral part of studies in the chiropractic space.

Keywords Evidence-Based Practice; Qualitative Research; Research Design


This paper examines the application of qualitative methodology in the chiropractic sector. Philosophers of science have long observed that the positivist paradigm that underpins quantitative research can itself easily become a dogma, they recognise that science can never ‘prove itself’ and many would no doubt agree with Dupre that it may indeed become a form of ‘scientific imperialism’. [1-3] There is thus an increasing recognition that devotion to a purely quantitative methodology in the health sciences is at best, ‘unbalanced’. [1] This paper will lead the reader through a preliminary description of qualitative research methodologies while providing an overview of the major paradigms on which qualitative research is based, along with selected chiropractic examples.

      Importance of Qualitative Research to
     Chiropractic Health Research