SAGE Journal Articles
SAGE journal articles and other additional readings have been carefully selected by the author to accompany each chapter. Click on the following links. Please note these will open in a new window.
The trustworthiness of results is the bedrock of high-quality qualitative research. Member checking, also known as participant or respondent validation, is a technique for exploring the credibility of results. Data or results are returned to participants to check for accuracy and resonance with their experiences. Member checking is often mentioned as one in a list of validation techniques. This simplistic reporting might not acknowledge the value of using the method, nor its juxtaposition with the interpretative stance of qualitative research. In this commentary, we critique how member checking has been used in published research, before describing and evaluating an innovative in-depth member checking technique, Synthesized Member Checking. The method was used in a study with patients diagnosed with melanoma. Synthesized Member Checking addresses the co-constructed nature of knowledge by providing participants with the opportunity to engage with, and add to, interview and interpreted data, several months after their semi-structured interview.
Criteria for determining the trustworthiness of qualitative research were introduced by Guba and Lincoln in the 1980s when they replaced terminology for achieving rigor, reliability, validity, and generalizability with dependability, credibility, and transferability. Strategies for achieving trustworthiness were also introduced. This landmark contribution to qualitative research remains in use today, with only minor modifications in format. Despite the significance of this contribution over the past four decades, the strategies recommended to achieve trustworthiness have not been critically examined. Recommendations for where, why, and how to use these strategies have not been developed, and how well they achieve their intended goal has not been examined. We do not know, for example, what impact these strategies have on the completed research. In this article, I critique these strategies. I recommend that qualitative researchers return to the terminology of social sciences, using rigor, reliability, validity, and generalizability. I then make recommendations for the appropriate use of the strategies recommended to achieve rigor: prolonged engagement, persistent observation, and thick, rich description; inter-rater reliability, negative case analysis; peer review or debriefing; clarifying researcher bias; member checking; external audits; and triangulation.
Click to download a short essay on using qualitative comparative analysis (QCA), an advanced qualitative research method.
Sedgwick, D. (2016). Using qualitative comparative analysis (QCA): A way to explore complex connections.
This article presents a model for quality in qualitative research that is uniquely expansive, yet flexible, in that it makes distinctions among qualitative research’s means (methods and practices) and its ends. The article first provides a contextualization and rationale for the conceptualization. Then the author presents and explores eight key markers of quality in qualitative research, including worthy topic, rich rigor, sincerity, credibility, resonance, significant contribution, ethics, and meaningful coherence. This eight-point conceptualization offers a useful pedagogical model and provides a common language of qualitative best practices that can be recognized as integral by a variety of audiences. While making a case for these markers of quality, the article leaves space for dialogue, imagination, growth, and improvisation.