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Measuring the Quality of QUALITATIVE RESEARCH

Seale, C. (1999). Quality Inquiry, 5(4), 465-478. in qualitative research. Qualitative

Thurmond, V. A. (2001). The point of triangulation. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 33(3), 253-258.

Presented by Dr Ponnam Abhilash

Modernism and Post Modernism

Modernism: A tendency to favor rational thought over metaphysical, theological explanations

Post Modernism: A tendency in favor of rejection of objective truths and formulation of grand theories

Assessing quality within positivist (modern) paradigm

Quality of findings CRITERIOLOGY Validity : Whether what we are measuring equals what we intend to measure?

Reliability: Is the measurement accurate?

Evaluating the quality of research reports Truth value Applicability Consistency Neutrality

Problems in embracing positivist criteria to assess qualitative (post modern) research quality
TRUTH VALUE (accuracy) Positivism Exploration of single objective reality exists Interpretivism Exploration of multiple subjective realities that are constructed within the minds of human beings

Generalizability (from sample to population)

Positivism: Promotes development of grand theories Interpretivism: Promotes development of substantive theories applicable only to the local contexts

Consistency (lack of contradiction with other accepted principles/ theories) Positivism: Assumes linear causality Interpretivism: Multiple and subconscious reasons for causality which cannot be explicitly elaborated

Neutrality (Unbiasedness) Positivism: Artificial separation of personal values from inquiry is possible because researcher is not the part of methodology Interpretivism: Separation not possible because researcher takes active role in data collection and data analysis

Lincoln and Gubas (1985) Suggestions

Truth value member checks (informant feed backs) Generalization transferability Neutrality auditing (self auditing- self critical account on research process) Consistency dependability (peer auditing)

Authenticity (L & G,1994) fairness (representation of range of realities)

To use two or more aspects of research to strengthen the design to increase the validity of findings (Campbell & Fiske, 1959) by Cancelling out the biases arising from choosing one aspect over others (Seale, 1999)

Different kinds of triangulation (Thurmond, 2001)

Data Source Triangulation:
Variance in events, situations, times, places, and persons add to the study because of the possibility of revealing atypical data or the potential of identifying similar patterns, thus increasing confidence in the findings (Fielding & Fielding, 1986).

Investigator Triangulation:
Confirmation of data among investigators, without prior discussion or collaboration with one another, lends greater credibility to the observations (Denzin, 1970).

Methodological Triangulation:
By using multiple methods, the researcher strives to decrease the deficiencies and biases that stem from any single method (Mitchell, 1986, p. 19) creating the potential for counterbalancing the flaws or the weaknesses of one method with the strengths of another (p. 21).

Theoretical Triangulation:
Theoretical triangulation is the use of multiple theories or hypotheses when examining a phenomenon (Denzin, 1970)

Data-Analysis Triangulation:
Data-analysis triangulation is the combination of two or more methods of analyzing data.


Enhances the completeness and confirmation of data in research findings of qualitative research.

Lends to use of both quantitative and qualitative strategies in the same study as a viable option to obtain complementary findings and to strengthen research results.

Thank you!