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There is an urgent need for innovation in the use of qualitative methods alongside randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of health interventions. Less than 13% of RCTs use qualitative methods and when they are used, qualitative methods are often restricted to interviews and focus group discussions at the end of interventions limiting the insights they generate. This special issue aims to bring together studies from RCTs that draw on the rich history of using qualitative health methods in public health, including (but not limited to) life histories, photo voice, ethno-drama, participatory techniques, digital storytelling, digital ethnography, and the analysis of video or images. Articles focusing on either how innovative qualitative methodologies were used alongside an RCT of a specific intervention, or methodological papers that discuss innovative methods in relation to RCTs of complex health interventions more broadly are welcomed. Articles should clearly articulate why they are innovative and the potential for generating new findings or insights for interventions that cannot be gained through interviews with participants or focus group discussions alone.

The deadline for submission to Qualitative Health Research for this special issue is March 30, 2018.

How to submit a paper: Please follow the journal’s guidelines for submissions. Authors must include the name of the special issue in the appropriate dialogue box when making their submission to be considered. Submissions are handled online through the Qualitative Health Research SAGE Track site.  Please visit to begin the submission process.

If you have any questions about the special issue please contact Jenevieve Mannell at