Title : Method for optimizing qualitative research. Example in the field of non-drug interventions in autism.
Supervisor : Cyrille Colin / Sandrine Touzet / Marie-Maude Geoffray
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impairments in communication, social interaction and behavior. Although no specific drug treatment is currently available, a wide range of non-drug interventions has been developed to meet the needs of people with autism. Among these interventions, early intervention is today a popular model, made possible by improved screening and diagnosis in early childhood.
Although the quality of studies in this field has greatly improved in recent years, methodological shortcomings persist. This is partly due to the difficulty of evaluating these often complex non-medication interventions. Furthermore, the literature has focused particularly on evaluating the efficacy of the intervention, neglecting other important aspects such as feasibility, acceptability and implementation. In this context, qualitative research, as well as methods combining quantitative and qualitative approaches (so-called "mixed-method" research), have a role to play in providing an in-depth understanding of experiences, the context of interventions, factors linked to implementation....
This thesis aims to explore the place of qualitative research in the evaluation of complex non-medicinal interventions, through four examples of study around parent-mediated intervention in the field of autism, and more specifically the PACT (Pre-School Autism Communication Therapy) model.
After an introduction to the evaluation of complex interventions and qualitative methods, a first study evaluating the feasibility of the PACT method in videoconferencing will enable us to illustrate the place of qualitative research in assessing feasibility. A second study, exploring the worldwide implementation of PACT via a mixed-methods study, will enable us to discuss the interest of these methods in the field of implementation sciences. A third study, a metasynthesis on the experience of parents who participated in a parent-mediated intervention, will enable us to explore the field of qualitative evidence synthesis
and its relevance to the field of intervention evaluation. Finally, a fourth multicenter randomized controlled study (in progress, protocol published) to evaluate the effectiveness of PACT in videoconferencing and the impact of this method on the family, will enable us to address the complexity of evaluating such an intervention and the methods useful in this field.
These different methods will be discussed and put into perspective, using the overall PACT model and the various studies that have evaluated the model to date. We will open up the methodological perspectives for the evaluation of non-medication interventions in the field of autism.
Key words :
Autism; non-drug interventions; qualitative research; mixed methods; evaluation