Using Qualitative Research for Complex Interventions: The Contributions of Hermeneutics

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There is growing recognition that current methodology to understand complex interventions in health-care often falls short of comprehensively explaining the interventions. Health-care interventions need to be understood in ways that are responsive to the complexities and intricacies of programs, people, and places. Qualitative research and mixed-methods endeavors attempt to overcome the limits of measurement-based research. This article draws on published theories of complex interventions and argues that research guided by Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics can yield research to complement our understanding of complex interventions in health-care. Specific examples from family intervention research are provided to illustrate the type of knowledge that can be generated with hermeneutic inquiry to understand complex interventions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Methods
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug. 2017


  • complex interventions
  • family interventions
  • health-care interventions
  • hermeneutics
  • methodology
  • qualitative research


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