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Understanding Reliability & Validity in Qualitative Research

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❶Qualitative Validity - The following overview compares validity in qualitative research with quantitative research validity.

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The traditional quantitative view of reliability is based on the assumption of replicability or repeatability. Essentially it is concerned with whether we would obtain the same results if we could observe the same thing twice. But we can't actually measure the same thing twice -- by definition if we are measuring twice, we are measuring two different things.

In order to estimate reliability, quantitative researchers construct various hypothetical notions e. The idea of dependability, on the other hand, emphasizes the need for the researcher to account for the ever-changing context within which research occurs.

The research is responsible for describing the changes that occur in the setting and how these changes affected the way the research approached the study.

Qualitative research tends to assume that each researcher brings a unique perspective to the study. Confirmability refers to the degree to which the results could be confirmed or corroborated by others. There are a number of strategies for enhancing confirmability. The researcher can document the procedures for checking and rechecking the data throughout the study.

Another researcher can take a "devil's advocate" role with respect to the results, and this process can be documented. The researcher can actively search for and describe and negative instances that contradict prior observations. And, after he study, one can conduct a data audit that examines the data collection and analysis procedures and makes judgements about the potential for bias or distortion.

There has been considerable debate among methodologists about the value and legitimacy of this alternative set of standards for judging qualitative research. On the one hand, many quantitative researchers see the alternative criteria as just a relabeling of the very successful quantitative criteria in order to accrue greater legitimacy for qualitative research. We use cookies to improve our service and to tailor our content and advertising to you. More info You can manage your cookie settings via your browser at any time.

To learn more about how we use cookies, please see our cookies policy. Log in via OpenAthens. Log in using your username and password For personal accounts OR managers of institutional accounts. Forgot your log in details? Register a new account? Forgot your user name or password? Search for this keyword. Latest content Current issue Archive Authors About. Log in via Institution. Issues of validity and reliability in qualitative research. Are the terms reliability and validity relevant to ensuring credibility in qualitative research?

View inline View popup. What strategies can qualitative researchers adopt to ensure the credibility of the study findings? Evid Based Nurs ; Consider the SAT, used as a predictor of success in college. It is a reliable test high scores relate to high GPA , though only a moderately valid indicator of success due to the lack of structured environment — class attendance, parent-regulated study, and sleeping habits — each holistically related to success.

Second, validity is more important than reliability. Using the above example, college admissions may consider the SAT a reliable test, but not necessarily a valid measure of other quantities colleges seek, such as leadership capability, altruism, and civic involvement.

Finally, the most useful instrument is both valid and reliable. Proponents of the SAT argue that it is both. Thus far, we have discussed Instrumentation as related to mostly quantitative measurement.

Some qualitative researchers reject the concept of validity due to the constructivist viewpoint that reality is unique to the individual, and cannot be generalized. These researchers argue for a different standard for judging research quality. This resource was created by Dr. The Instrument Instrument is the general term that researchers use for a measurement device survey, test, questionnaire, etc. Examples are listed below: Example usability problems include: Students are asked to rate a lesson immediately after class, but there are only a few minutes before the next class begins problem with administration.

Students are asked to keep self-checklists of their after school activities, but the directions are complicated and the item descriptions confusing problem with interpretation. For now, we can identify five usability considerations: How long will it take to administer?

Are the directions clear? How easy is it to score?

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Like reliability and validity as used in quantitative research are providing springboard to examine what these two terms mean in the qualitative research paradigm, triangulation as used in quantitative research to test the reliability and validity can also illuminate some ways to test or maximize the validity and reliability of a qualitative study.

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Establishing Validity in Qualitative Research. The following module discusses reliability and validity in qualitative research, with an emphasis on establishing credibility and transferability. Learning Objectives: Define and reliability and validity in qualitative research. Discuss the importance of establishing validity.

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Use your results to increase the validity of your data. Validity of data in research refers to whether or not a topic or ability is actually measured by the instrument used to assess it. In qualitative research, it is whether or not you get a true picture of the process or behavior being examined. Reliability and validity are more generally not held to be applicable to evaluate the findings of qualitative research. There has been considerable debate among qualitative researchers for decades, but a common and unified approach to describing the criteria for quality has not emerged clearly.

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Qualitative Validity Depending on their philosophical perspectives, some qualitative researchers reject the framework of validity that is commonly accepted in more quantitative research in the social sciences. Concepts such as reliability, validity and generalisability typically associated with quantitative research and alternative terminology will be compared in relation to their application to qualitative research.