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Video lecture: quality of qualitative research

Video 2: The Quality of Qualitative Research. Part 2 of 3 on Research Quality: A lecture on the quality of research and the research process taken from a series on research methods and research design given to masters (graduate) students by Graham R Gibbs at the University of Huddersfield. This is part 2 of three, and deals with adapting the ideas of reliability, validity, generalizability to the field of qualitative research. (

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Criterias for judgin qualitative research


Credibility: The credibility criteria involves establishing that the results of qualitative research are credible or believable from the perspective of the participant in the research. Since from this perspective, the purpose of qualitative research is to describe or understand the phenomena of interest from the participant's eyes, the participants are the only ones who can legitimately judge the credibility of the results.

Transferability: Transferability refers to the degree to which the results of qualitative research can be generalized or transferred to other contexts or settings. The qualitative researcher can enhance transferability by doing a thorough job of describing the research context and the assumptions that were central to the research. The person who wishes to "transfer" the results to a different context is then responsible for making the judgment of how sensible the transfer is.

Dependability: 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.

Confirmability: 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


Triangulation is important method used by qualitative researchers

Triangulation is a method used by qualitative researchers to check and establish validity in their studies by analyzing a research question from multiple perspectives. Triangulation seeks to validate a claim, a process, or an outome at least two independent sources. It puts into operation a key question in the researcher's toolbox, "is this person lying to me?" (Newby, 2010)

Patton (2002) cautions that it is a common misconception that the goal of triangulation is to arrive at consistency across data sources or approaches; in fact, such inconsistencies may be likely given the relative strengths of different approaches. In Patton’s view, these inconsistencies should not be seen as weakening the evidence, but should be viewed as an opportunity to uncover deeper meaning in the data.

Example of triangulation

Laru, J., & Järvelä, S. (2008). Social patterns in mobile technology mediated collaboration among members of the professional distance education community. Educational Media International, 45(1), 17-32.


Triangulation types


  1. Data triangulation
    Data triangulation involves using different sources of information in order to increase the validity of a study.

  2. Investigator triangulation
    Investigator triangulation involves using several different investigators in the analysis process.

  3. Theory triangulation
    Theory triangulation involves the use of multiple perspectives to interpret a single set of data.

  4. Methodological triangulation
    Methodological triangulation involves the use of multiple qualitative and/or quantitative methods to study the program. For example, results from surveys, focus groups, and interviews could be compared to see if similar results are being found. If the conclusions from each of the methods are the same, then validity is established.

  5. Environmental triangulation
    This type of triangulation involves the use of different locations, settings, and other key factors related to the environment in which the study took place, such as the time, day, or season.

Thesis analysis  

1. Go to Jultika (

2. Download thesis [filter: master thesis, english, faculty of education]

3. Try to get answer to these questions

  1. What is transferability of the research design? How thoroughly the research context and the assumptions are described in text?.
  2. What kind of triangulation has been used in thesis? if any?
  3. What kind of exact reliability/validity or credibility/transferability/dependability/comfirmability descriptions you can recognize from master thesis?

4. Present


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