Creating Quality in Qualitative Research

In quantitative communities, measures of quality are relatively simple: validity, reliability, generalizability, and objectivity. However, qualitative research cannot and should not be evaluated by these same yardsticks. This workshop presents a parsimonious, “big tent” model of qualitative quality in which participants will explore eight key markers of quality in qualitative research including: 1) worthy topic, 2) rich rigor, 3) sincerity, 4) credibility, 5) resonance, 6) significant contribution, 7) ethics and 8) meaningful coherence.

This model is based upon material from Qualitative Research Methods: Collecting Evidence, Crafting Analysis, Communicating Impact (2013, Wiley-Blackwell) and this article: Tracy, S.J. (2010). “Qualitative Quality: Eight ‘Big-tent’ Criteria for Excellent Qualitative Research.” Qualitative Inquiry, 16: 837-51 .

The eight points of the big tent model will enable teachers, researchers, and practitioners of qualitative inquiry to:

  1. Identify a worthy topic that is relevant, timely, significant and interesting to core audiences
  2. Create rich rigor through using sufficient, abundant, appropriate, and complex theories, data, constructs, and analysis processes
  3. Communicate sincerity by being self-reflexive and transparent
  4. Ensure credibility through thick description, triangulation, crystallization, multivocality, and member reflections
  5. Fashion resonant research that influences and moves audiences through aesthetic representation, naturalistic generalization, and transferable findings
  6. Develop a significant contribution—theoretically, practically, morally, methodologically, and heuristically
  7. Practice qualitative ethics–including procedural, situational, relational, and exiting considerations
  8. Craft meaningful coherence by interconnecting literature, research questions, findings and interpretations so that they fit together, cohere with the study’s goals, and connect with the audience’s expectations.

The model also equips consumers and evaluators of qualitative work with measures to assess the quality of material they review.

The workshop is targeted to researchers, grant-writers, and instructors of qualitative methods—both those new to these areas as well as experienced inquirers.