Which method should you use?
If you want a deeper understanding of stigma in a specific context, qualitative methods may be most appropriate. There are a range of qualitative methods that can be used. Use the table in Guide 4 Annex 5: Advantages and disadvantages of methods to see which method is recommended for your purpose of understanding aspects related to stigma or mental wellbeing.
If you want to get a more complete picture of the problem of stigma or of mental wellbeing in your area, you will need to apply different methods. For example, a series of focus group discussions with different target groups can help to obtain a wide range of consequences of stigma or mental wellbeing, whilst interviews with persons with lived experiences can then explore in depth how certain consequences impacted their lives.
See Guide 4 Annex 5: Advantages and disadvantages of methods for further details.
Has the method already been used? What can I learn from this?
In contrast to quantitative methods, qualitative methods (e.g., interview guides, focus group discussion guides) are often not publicly available (see Guide 4 Annex 6: Example topics when using qualitative methods for some examples). However, you do not have to start from scratch either. Try to answer the following question:
Has the method been applied before to understand the aspect I am interested in? If so, what can I learn from others’ experience?
It might be worthwhile to contact the person(s) who have applied the method you are interested in and ask for advice. Although the information is not publicly available, they are often happy to share more details about their methods (e.g. the topic guides or questions that were used). By contacting InfoNTD.org, it may be possible to find someone to help you choose the best method(s) for your purpose. If the aspect you are interested in has not yet been studied, you will need to develop the methods (e.g., topic guide) from scratch (see chapter 6, ‘Developing qualitative methods’, and Guide 4 Annex 2: Assessing stigma in the field: a practical elaboration of the methods used).