1 Collaborate – Think Critically: Learn from researchers who have been in your shoes – use their examples and experiences to explore how their ‘lessons learned’ can improve your own research approach. Take it one step further with additional thought-provoking questions online.

16.1 Objectivity

Like Marianne and Daniel, how do you respond to doubts about how objective your findings are? Are they just your own interpretations?

Consider how this relates to your theoretical model and how important objectivity is to your findings.

16.2 True or false?

Following Farida, does it matter whether you believe what your informants tell you?

What does Farida mean by ‘rhetorical devices’? Would you try to assess the validity or ‘truth’ of your interview responses? Why or why not?

16.3 Striving for Validity

Have you tried any of Alan’s strategies to improve the validity of your research, e.g., triangulation, simple counts and respondent validation?

  • If not, why not?
  • If so, did they work?

Are there any other ways in which you could assess validity?

16.4 Finding deviant cases

Like Gabriella, have you come across deviant cases in your own data? How did you identify them?

Gabriella shows these deviant examples to improve the credibility of her work. How would you handle them?

Consider how Gabriella could respond to criticisms that, with naturally occurring internet data, there is too much interpretation and not enough observation.

16.5 Making your research reliable

Anne found solutions to address the reliability of her data. How are you seeking to make your data reliable? For instance, if you are working with audio recordings, how are you ensuring that your transcripts are reliable?

If you are unsure, consider how Anne discusses and reviews transcripts with other analysts.