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Table 1 Design of the study

From: Patients’ quality of life during active cancer treatment: a qualitative study

Qualitative approach Phenomenology
Research paradigm Constructivism
Ethical issues The Paris-Descartes University review board (CERES) approved the research protocol (IRB number: 20140600001072). All participants provided written informed consent.
Sampling strategy Purposive sampling strategy with maximum variation:
- To include patients that differed with respect to cancer site and type, stage, duration of treatment and age.
- To “challenge” the findings continuously by including participants who might invalidate what was previously found.
Recruitment strategy - Inclusion criteria were discussed with physicians of the oncology departments where recruitment was planned.
- With respect with maximum variation purposive sampling strategy, physicians were asked to identify 3 to 5 suitable patients who met the inclusion criteria
- Physicians mentioned the study to potential participants and gave them an information sheet about it.
- Researchers met the interestesed patients
 ° To describe the study
 ° To collect social and demographic data
 ° To obtain their written consent.
Participants Inclusion criteria:
- Age: 18 years or older (no upper limit)
- Treatment started at least 6 months before interview
- Able to communicate in French
Exclusion criteria
- Age: < 18 years
- In the terminal phase (expected survival less than 6 months)
Data saturation Data saturation according to the principle of theoretical sufficiency:
- When new participants were not adding anything significant to the database
- When the themes obtained offered a sufficient explanatory framework in view of the data collected.
- Two further individual interviews were conducted with no new themes emerging, so to ensure full data saturation.
Data collection period Between November 2014 and June 2015
Data collection methods Individual semi-structured interviews:
- To get rich and detailed personal data from each participant
- Interactive conversational style
- Using a list of area of experience:
 ° Topic 1: Story of the illness (beginning of the story)
 ° Topic 2: exploration of daily life during the treatment period
  ▪ At home
  ▪ In relationships
  ▪ At work (if maintained)
  ▪ In treatment
- All interviews were:
 ° Conducted in a private room in the hospital of treatment
 ° Audio-recorded with participants’ permission
 ° Transcribed literally into verbatim.
 ° Anonymized
Interviewers Experienced qualitative researchers
- A psychologist (MO)
- Two psychiatrists (JS, ML)
Duration of interviews From 60 to 90 min.
Data analysis Thematic analysis:
- To identify, analyze and report themes within data (a theme = a label that summarizes the essence of a number of related codes)
- To identify the similarities and the differences in the participants’ narratives.
- To discern recurrent patterns and to integrate new elements that emerged from the analysis
- Data-driven analysis with inductive approach = coding the data without any reference to theoretical notions or researcher’s preconceptions.
Criteria to ensure validity Analysis conducted independently by three researchers (JS, MO, ML)
- To verify that the themes identified were an exact reflection of the data.
Research group monthly meetings:
- To discuss the results
- To be supervised by two researchers more distant from the material (ARL, LV).
- After negotiation of disagreements and discrepancies within the research team during regular meetings, consensus was reached on all findings.