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Case StudiesNICE

Rich insights into the health beliefs and practices of Chinese people in the UK

The Brief

The brief was to explore, qualitatively, how Chinese people living in the UK think about health and illness, what they do to keep healthy, and how they manage or cure illness. But the project also had to meet different objectives:

  • to generate rich qualitative insights in their own right
  • to support the development of a national survey into the Health and Lifestyles of the Chinese Community
  • to identify any implications of the findings for public health practitioners and local GPs

As Chinese people have a reputation for ‘keeping themselves to themselves’, a lot hinged on getting access to research participants and establishing trust and rapport. We took the plunge. Ultimately this led to three papers in peer-reviewed journals and the start of a love affair for research with ‘hard to reach’ communities.


The challenges they faced

  • Working with Chinese local community organisations to recruit research participants across the UK
  • Establishing rapport and trust, especially when working through translators
  • Making sense of complex cultural beliefs and practices
  • Working out the implications of the findings for public health professionals
  • Collaborating with quantitative researchers to turn insights into survey questions

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