How to Evaluate a Qualitative Research Report

Standards for evaluating qualitative research studies varies based on the methods used. Not only do researchers use observation -- both participant and non-participant -- in qualitative study, they also use interviews and document analysis. Therefore there is need to verify the reliability and validity of qualitative research study depending on the method. These steps can act as a guideline in assessing or evaluating a qualitative study report.

Instructions

    • 1

      Examine whether the problem question is clearly stated in the report. You have to confirm that the stated problem is grounded in theory and its rationale and significance is well described.

    • 2

      Confirm whether the literature review is precise, inclusive and relevant to the study. This assists you in ascertaining whether there is a critique of the literature review or a recapitulation.

    • 3

      Analyze the methodology used in collecting the data to ensure that it is congruent with the theory postulated in the study. Determine how the techniques used in collecting data were arrived at and how they are being utilized in the study. Consider the type of sampling used in the study and whether it is applicable. If you also used quantitative techniques in the study, it should be outlined by recounting why you used them. The report should have a depiction of the data collection process used in the study.

    • 4

      Scrutinize the participants used in the study. Explore whether the study provided a description of the participants, the criteria used in selecting them, the selection process and the location and context in which the study was carried out. This enables you to determine the applicability of the study to other comparable settings.

    • 5

      Explore whether research ethics in a qualitative study were observed. The report must indicate actions taken by the researcher to protect participants' rights, such as obtaining informed consent and enlightening participants as to their individual rights.

    • 6

      Check whether the data collected is clearly analyzed by the researcher such that there is overt interpretation by the researcher. The researcher should not just provide the findings in verbatim form but should carry out an analysis and interpretation of the data collected. The report should present the findings to yield meaning for the phenomenon that was studied by the researcher.

    • 7

      Assess whether the discussion of the research study provides meaningful interpretations. In this section of the report, the researcher should link the findings of the study to research in the field being researched. Besides identifying the inferences of the study to the body of knowledge in the field, the qualitative study report should also have a summary of suggestions for future research on the phenomenon under consideration.

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