Broadening undergraduate research - qualitative research 101 / Workshop 9

In the UK, osteopathic undergraduate education has almost exclusively focused on the teaching of quantitative research, and the development and execution of quantitative research studies. However, over the last four decades there has been a proliferation of qualitative research into healthcare practice, including manual therapy. It has been argued that a greater use of qualitative research will help develop a more robust and comprehensive knowledge base in osteopathy.

This workshop is offered as an introduction to qualitative research in the context of undergraduate osteopathic education and how qualitative research may explore and help understand the different types of knowledge used in clinical practice. The workshop aims to inform and stimulate osteopathic educators, researchers and supervisors who are unfamiliar with this area of research. The session will cover: the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of qualitative research; typical methods of data collection and analysis; and the strategies to enhance the quality of qualitative research. The session will draw upon the experience of teaching qualitative research and the supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate qualitative projects at the British School of Osteopathy.


Dr Oliver Thomson PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons), DO is a practicing osteopath and member of the BSO research department, where he leads the research units for the pre-registration osteopathy courses. He has lectured and tutored osteopathic students in the UK and throughout Scandinavia. Oliver completed his PhD which used constructivist grounded theory to explore the clinical decision-making of experienced osteopaths. He has authored several research papers on clinical decision-making/reasoning, qualitative research and grounded theory.