Background: While vast opportunities for using qualitative methods exist within palliative care research, few studies provide practical advice for researchers and clinicians as a roadmap to identify and utilize such opportunities. Objective: To provide palliative care clinicians and researchers descriptions of qualitative methodology applied to innovative research questions relative to palliative care research and define basic concepts in qualitative research. Body: We describe three qualitative projects as exemplars to describe major concepts in qualitative analysis of early palliative care: (1) a descriptive analysis of clinician documentation in the electronic health record, (2) a thematic content analysis of palliative care clinician focus groups, and (3) a framework analysis of audio-recorded encounters between patients and clinicians as part of a clinical trial. Conclusions: This study provides a foundation for undertaking qualitative research within palliative care and serves as a framework for use by other palliative care researchers interested in qualitative methodologies.
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