Monday, 18 June 2012

Validity and Reliability for Qualitative Researchers

If you have had any experience with quantitative research you will know that there are strict criteria for establishing the reliability and validity of studies. Depending on your epistemology, however, this can also be the case for qualitative research.

 Guba and Lincoln put forward four criteria for determining the trustworthiness of qual research, as you can see in the table below

Quantitative Research
Qualitative Research
internal validity
external validity

What do these terms mean

Credibility means how much do the findings mirror what the participants actually meant. This can be achieved by respondent validation or member-checking.

    Transferability means how generalisable are the findings to another setting. This is a job done by the researcher in quant studies but in qual studies the researcher must simply describe the study context well and onus is then on the reader

    Dependability means would you get the same results if the study was done again or by someone else. This can be achieved by cross-checking codes with another researcher or collaborative coding with a group.

    Confirmability means can the findings be corroborated by others. It is important to describe how your data was analysed in detail and leave an audit trail that links your results with your interview transcripts 
    Want to read more on this? Here's a great article

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