What are the challenges of ensuring the scientific rigor in qualitative research? What are some techniques used by researchers to ensure scientific rigor in qualitative research?
Qualitative research is non-positivistic. This simply means that it "does not seek to produce quantified answers to research questions" (Pope & Mays 1995) and conclusions and insights are interpreted rather than measured or uncovered. An important difference in qualitative research is that 'truth' is considered to be relative to its context, rather than absolute.
In any research, scientific rigor will depend on the basics of good research which is related to "systematic and self conscious research design, data collection, interpretation, and communication" (Pope & Mays, 1995). Therefore, elements such as explicit sampling strategies and detailed explanations of how data have been systematically collected and analyzed are critical to help evaluate the rigor of the research, including qualitative data.
However, the subjective nature of qualitative research has caused scientists to negate the value it may hold. Qualitative research was considered to be highly biased by both informant and researcher and as such, would always produce variable conclusions based on who conducted the research and hence was not generalizable. This assumes though that quantitative and qualitative research can be evaluated in the exact same way which is inaccurate. In order to understand how to evaluate rigor in the two types of designs, it is important to appreciate the different types of data that these two different types of research produces. Therefore, while they can be assessed using similar concepts, the application of these concepts is inevitably a little different due to the fundamental differences between quantitative and qualitative data.
In consideration of 'scientific rigor' in qualitative ...
The challenges of qualitative research are determined.