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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 477-478

Qualitative research in anesthesiology: An essential practice and need of the hour

1 Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care, Gian Sagar Medical College and Hospital, Ram Nagar, Banur, Punjab, India
2 Department of Endocrinology, Bharti Hospital and BRIDE, Karnal, Haryana, India

Correspondence Address:
Sukhminder Jit Singh Bajwa
House No. 27 A, Ratan Nagar, Tripuri, Patiala 147 001, Punjab
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1658-354X.121055

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Date of Web Publication7-Nov-2013

How to cite this article:
Bajwa SS, Kalra S. Qualitative research in anesthesiology: An essential practice and need of the hour. Saudi J Anaesth 2013;7:477-8

How to cite this URL:
Bajwa SS, Kalra S. Qualitative research in anesthesiology: An essential practice and need of the hour. Saudi J Anaesth [serial online] 2013 [cited 2022 Dec 1];7:477-8. Available from:


Anesthesiology research in developing nations, especially of Asia and Africa is almost touching newer heights in the last one decade with so many publications and research papers being submitted to various national and international journals. Somehow, the acceptance rate of such manuscripts is quite low, which leads to a poor citation and indexing ratio. As such, the real contribution to the world literature is minimal across all disciplines in general and anesthesiology in particular from developing nations. [1] These gradual creeping and crawling efforts have left many developing nations at the bottom of ranking table generated by Thomson Reuters. [2]

The rapid growth of few journals such as Indian Journal of Anesthesia, Saudi Journal of Anesthesia, Journal of Anesthesiology Clinical Pharmacology, Anesthesia Essays, and Researches and many more speaks well of the giant strides being taken to promote this specialty among world's leading academic journals. The ranking is further expected to improve over the next few years. [3] China, Japan, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and many other Asian countries are doing excellent academic progress, which is almost equivalent to few developed nations of the world. These trends will definitely help in establishing positive anesthesia trends in the clinical and the public health. [4]

However, on the flip-side, it can be said that most of the Anesthesiology research is oriented toward biological or quantitative methodology rather than based on qualitative or psychological model. During pre-anesthetic evaluation, many symptoms are expressed by patients who have psychosocial basis, but are evaluated purely on clinical grounds just for the sake of completion of clinical and the research work. The conventional praxis is to evaluate the patient through a quantitative prism. As a result, the patient is being assessed through biochemical markers, radiologic techniques, partially invasive to invasive investigations without qualitative assessment of the internal well-being of the patient. At the end of research activities, many of these patients may be totally dissatisfied with the treatment being meted out to them during this period. [5] Therefore, a strong need is felt in modern day anesthesiology practice to bring about a large social and clinical change in the methodology of anesthesiology research.

These drawbacks in anesthesiology research can be improved drastically by training the post-graduate students in qualitative assessment along with quantitative and the clinical assessment during their tenure. The qualitative research has to be given due respect with support from a well-designed theoretical frame-work with practical feasibility. [6],[7] However, at no stage the qualitative and quantitative research methodology should be treated as separate. Both are two sides of the same coin with similar scientific basis; follow the same rules of theoretical research and scientific rigor with an emphasis on achieving reliable, valid and scientific answers to the pre-specified research hypothesis. The merit of qualitative research lies in the fact that it explores the research process in a flexible and creative manner based on the concepts of methodological plurality and theoretical plurality. Further, qualitative research incorporates scientific methods such as triangulation, respondent validation, purposeful sampling, transparency of research, reflexivity, and analytical methods into the research design. [6],[7],[8]

Right from the stage of initial pre-anesthetic evaluation until discharge of the patient from the hospital, anesthesiologist needs to be associated with the patient. Even regular post-operative anesthesia rounds can be exemplary in qualitative and quantitative research. [9] Qualitative research methodology that can be followed in operative settings may include, but is not limited to ethnography, grounded theory, phenomenology, data collection through interviews and open ended questionnaires, analysis of data with iterative thematic analysis or commercial software, and many others. [6],[7],[8] However, if qualitative research is not sufficient alone, mixed method can be utilized as an alternative. Qualitative research can be used as an exploratory method to create a more patient focused and patient relative questionnaire prior to the application of quantitative research methodology. Such interventions may include probing and observing quantitative clinical aspects of new anesthesia drug or technique with simultaneous qualitative analysis of attitude and perception toward the therapeutic and technical intervention respectively. [8] The increased collaboration with other specialties and super specialties will not only enhance the anesthesia practice, but will definitely contribute to qualitative anesthesia research. [10]

At this vital juncture, precautions have to be exercised regarding the quality of academic and research work being submitted for publication as the quantitative flood can possibly drown the real progress made by the specialty. The present anesthesia research methodology should not focus on these clinical effects, rather should aim to re-assess the robust qualitative methodology, which can go a long way in improving the overall quality of anesthesia research. That is, how the developing nations can mark a significant turnaround in the world anesthesia literature.

  References Top

1.Available from: [Accessed on 2013 Apr 1].  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Kalra S. Indian research and publications: Our global standing. Int J Clin Cases Invest 2010;1:1-2.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Available from: [Accessed on 2013 Apr 1].  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Available from: [Accessed on 2013 Apr 1].  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Kalra S, Kalra B. Improving compliance in hypothyroidism: What can we do? Thyroid Res Pract 2012;9:78-80.  Back to cited text no. 5
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6.Hansen EC. Successful Qualitative Health Research. A Practical Introduction. Crows Nest, Australia: Allen and Unwin; 2007.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Glesne C. Becoming Qualitative Researchers. An Introduction. Boston, USA: Pearson; 2011.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Creswell JW, Clark VL. Designing and Conducting Mixed Methods Research. Thousand Oaks, USA: Sage; 2011.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Bajwa SS. Post-op anaesthesia rounds: Need of the hour. Anesth Essays Res 2013;7:(In Press).  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Bajwa SJ, Kalra S. Diabeto-anaesthesia: A subspecialty needing endocrine introspection. Indian J Anaesth 2012;56:513-7.  Back to cited text no. 10
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