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Q&A: Senior Qualitative Research Scientist Tamar Klaiman

Tamar Klaiman

Tamar Klaiman, PhD, MPH, is Senior Qualitative Research Scientist at CHIBE and the Palliative and Advanced Illness Research Center (PAIR).

Q: What projects are you currently involved in at CHIBE?

I am primarily working on the CHF Empower Program where we are learning about patients’ and providers’ experiences in a study funded by the National Institutes of Health that tests ways to reduce hospital readmissions for Penn Medicine heart failure patients using remote monitoring devices to track weights and diuretic adherence. I’m also supporting a number of proposals in progress that will include qualitative components. I also lead workshops and trainings for staff focused on how to conduct effective qualitative research.

Q: What is the value of doing qualitative research?

In a nutshell, quantitative research answers the question “what is happening?” while qualitative answers the question, “why is it happening?” Qualitative work can help us understand why an intervention works (or doesn’t work) and for whom – and under what circumstances? Qualitative research also allows researchers to design interventions that are as effective as possible in their population of interest.

Q: What do you find most rewarding about your work?

The most rewarding part of my work is when study participants feel that their contributions are valued by researchers. I also love when investigators learn something new or see things differently because of what participants felt about projects in which they are participants. I have seen projects transformed by the insights of participants, and I believe that understanding their perspectives makes research more robust and actionable.