Frameworks for change in hearing research: valuing qualitative methods in the real world

Frances Rapport, Sarah E. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)


In this article, we examine ecological validity in hearing science from a qualitative methodological perspective. We present an overview of qualitative methods, presenting their key characteristics and contrasting these techniques with quantitative approaches to enquiry. We argue that ecological validity sits at the heart of the qualitative paradigm and seek to clearly emphasize the methodological gap that could be effectively filled by qualitative or mixed methods. In doing so, we discuss qualitative methods that may work particularly well in enhancing ecological validity in hearing science and explore their range of applications in this field. These approaches can be applied to a wide range of hearing health research questions to present a unique understanding of people’s experiences of disease and disability, indicating gradations of personal health and illness in nuanced ways. We acknowledge and commend the current expansion of qualitative methods within hearing science and present recommendations for increasing ecological validity, both in the design of future studies and in the context of the wider research cycle. We call on qualitative researchers to strive for transparency, rigor, and trustworthiness and highlight challenges to be overcome if qualitative methods are to contribute to effective, efficient research strategies. To facilitate the transference of high-quality research findings into practice, we stress the need for joined-up working to create a research culture that promotes coproduction of ecologically valid research designs, involving not only hearing researchers but also implementation scientists, hearing healthcare professionals and, most importantly, people with hearing loss for whom these efforts could make a difference.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91S-98S
Number of pages8
JournalEar and Hearing
Issue numberSupplement 1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020
EventEriksholm International Workshop: Ecologically Valid Assessments of Hearing and Hearing Devices - Snekkersten, Denmark
Duration: 26 Aug 2019 → …

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Ecological validity
  • Hearing science research
  • Integrating results
  • Mixed methods
  • Qualitative methods


Dive into the research topics of 'Frameworks for change in hearing research: valuing qualitative methods in the real world'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this