Reviewed02:Redefining Qualitative Methods

Have been searching far and near, high and low for the articles relevant to 

  1. Issues on Quality of the Qualitative Research in Education.
  2. Quality and Qualitative Research.

In general, look at the quality aspect or issues. Find articles which related to the research finding based on these issues. “

and I stumbled upon a site:International Journal of Qualitative Methods.

The best part of this site is I can download the journal article for FREE. The most important element / word in my life at this moment.

Anyway here is the chosen article—hope there is relevance to the mentioned issues:

Redefining Qualitative Methods: Believability in the Fifth Element

The problem:

“…allegations that qualitative research will be identified as undisciplined, sloppy research comprising subjective observations. Further, it will be conducted by individuals who have personal motives or are chasing the current popular theme. Finally, as few individuals outside the field of qualitative research make distinctions between the different methodological styles within the qualitative paradigm, the label of undisciplined, sloppy research might spread across the qualitative research field instead of remaining with those who embrace fifth moment practices.”

The author in this article rejects a strict need for reliability and validity as traditionally defined in quantitative research and outlines a less restrictive approach to ensuring reliability and validity in qualitative research. The author explained why such a strict need is rejected by first describing how qualitative research and its methods and beliefs on reliability and validity evolved from the traditional period (1900–1945) until the mid-1980s.

For reliability, items suggested are; Research worker reliability, Variation in observations, Test-retest method, Split-half method

For validity, items suggested are; Descriptive validity, Interpretation validity, Theory validity, Researcher bias, Reactivity

It was interesting to read how each suggested item is applied can ensure the validity and reliability in Qualitative research methods. It will be good to see that the author continues to provide examples or a framework (somewhat similar to the previous framework for ensuring quality in qualitative research)

In order to enhance the credibility of the qualitative methods, the author recommended Validity checklist which covers these items (though not possible to cover all these basic elements) – Triangulation, Negative cases, discrepant data, or disconfirming evidence, Bias or researcher reflexivity, Member checking, Prolonged engagement in the field, Collaboration, Audit trail, Thick, rich description, Feedback or peer debriefing. 

The author’s concern on the issue is clearly voiced out when he wrote this:-

“The fear is that again all qualitative researchers will be on the defensive about the truthfulness of their research, especially if the research appears subjective and openly discounts the need for reliability and validity.”

I do agree with him!

To download the pdf version, click on the title of the article.

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