The purpose of this paper is to answer three questions related to a qualitative study conducted by Mogotlane, Stlangulela and Ogunbanjo (2004) examining mortality and morbidity among traditionally circumcised boys in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. The first section of the paper describes the characteristics of qualitative research in detail and discusses why Mogotlane et. al's study can be said to comply with each of the discussed characteristics. The second part of the paper presents a discussion of the research in terms of the qualitative research criterion of trustworthiness.
Characteristics of Qualitative Research and the Mogotlane Study of Circumcision
Defining qualitative research as an interpretative, naturalistic and exploratory approach to research, Ritchie and Lewis (2003) state that this approach focuses upon understanding the meanings which people attach to their actions, decisions, beliefs and values within their social world. The authors further note that the general goal of qualitative research is to provide a given understanding of a phenomena (e.g., mortality and morbidity in traditional circumcision in a specified geographic area) within a contextual setting and so provide an explanation of factors central to this phenomenon. When applied to nursing, the purpose of qualitative research is more focused on health. Specifically, the goal is to provide an exploration of reasons, both objective and subjective, that underlie various health concerns such as health problems (Ploeg, 1999).
Clearly, Mogotlane, Ntlangulela and Ogunbanjo's (2004) study satisfies the general purpose of qualitative nursing research in that it investigates health outcomes that are problematic in relation to traditional circumcision among Xhosa boys. The exploratory nature of the study as to the reasons for mortality and morbidity is also is in line with qualitative research.
In Anselm-Strauss' (1998) discussion of the b...