Management Design School

Qualitative Research

Creswell (2014) describes qualitative validity as a process for the researcher to verify that the findings of data collection are accurate.  Creswell (2014) describes qualitative reliability to assure consistency among researchers and research projects.  Creswell (2014) lists qualitative research terms associated with validity to also include trustworthiness, authenticity, and credibility.  Creswell (2014) lists techniques for ensuring validity to include: triangulating, member checking, including discrepant information, peer debriefing, external auditing, and time spending.  In quantitative research, reliability is closely linked to validity as parts of measurement, but not necessarily the case in qualitative research (Creswell, 2014). _

Creswell (2014) mentions that narrative research includes recreating stories, phenomenological research analyzes statements. Grounded theory has systematic steps. Case study and ethnographic research involves a detailed description of settings and an analysis of the data. Creswell (2014) includes the stages for analyzing qualitative research data to include raw data, organizing and preparing data for analysis, read through all data, coding the data, identifying themes and descriptions, interrelating themes and descriptions, interpreting the meaning, and validating the accuracy of the information.

Creswell (2014) identifies the steps for qualitative analysis to include organizing and preparing the data for analysis, examine all the data, code the data, generate a description, advance the description and theme, and finally make an interpretation in qualitative research.

Qualitative validity means the researcher checks for accuracy of the findings. Qualitative reliability means the researcher is consistent across the research. Creswell (2014) mentions eight strategies for maintaining validity: triangulation, member checking, rich description, check bias, present negative or discrepant information, spend prolonged time, debrief peers, have an external auditor. The interview protocol in qualitative research is a set of directions for conducting interviews. A focus group, led by a facilitator, can be a nonthreatening environment for which participants can express themselves (Patten, 2012). A facilitator can have a questioning route and can describe the topic to be discussed. The facilitator can also query for more detailed responses. The facilitator can also be described as a moderator.

Methods for controlling quality in qualitative research include data triangulation, methods triangulation, researcher triangulation, peer review, auditing, and member checking. In grounded theory, an inductive method of analysis can lead to theories of behavior. Open coding is the first stage of coding data, then axial coding. Finally, a core category is established. Constant comparison in grounded theory compares new elements with past elements (Patten, 2012).

Levy, Livingood, and Maranga (2016) suggest triangulation to conform validity of the data collection and analysis processes.  Patten (2012) also suggests methods for maintaining validity include triangulation and inter observer agreements. _Various types of triangulation include data triangulation, methods triangulation, and researcher triangulation. _Using multiple sources of data allows researchers to triangulate the data and make validity checks on the consistency of the data (Patten, 2012). _Combining methods such as interviews and focus groups provides researchers the ability to triangulate research methods.  Levy et al. (2016) prescribe attention to the research question, data collection, and research methods, as well as, a proper accounting of the steps in data collection and data analysis.

An independent review, or an audit, of the research study  ensure that the research is following proper guidelines and can make necessary suggestions along the way  (Patten, 2012). _ Collaborating on the research process provides the ability for researchers to define parameters for the research and to allow for the research to provide adequate structure. _The validity of the research can also be maintained by double checking the research data and verifying that the data entry is correct (Levy et al., 2016). _ The data that is entered can be ensured to be reliable data by proper coding and analysis. _Various stages of coding and analysis can provide information on whether there are any data values that are outside of the common themes of the research.
 Forming a research team allows researchers to collaborate and check the validity of each other's research (Patten, 2012).  An inter observer agreement allows researchers the ability to discuss differences in their research until there is a consensus.  Consensual qualitative research analysis also is a technique that allows researchers to collaborate on their research (Patten , 2012). _In consensual qualitative research methods a team of researchers attempt to reach a consensus on the themes of research.

Other possible techniques for reliability may include duplicating research and representing in the data in analysis.  It is also possible to have a second round of interviews or focus groups to validate data with the participants. __The reliability of the data can also be validated by providing visual representations of the data that can display any values of inputs that are errors.


Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Los Angeles: Sage publications.

Levy, D., Livingood, R., & Maranga, K. M. (2016). Perspectives of qualitative research methods. Schaumburg, IL: Words of Wisdom.

Patten, M. L. (2012). Understanding research methods. Glendale, CA: Pyrczak Publishing

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