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Discussion: Designing Qualitative Research
As you recall from earlier weeks, various philosophical orientations hold unique epistemological and ontological assumptions. These assumptions return to the forefront of attention when considering how to evaluate the rigor or quality of various qualitative research designs.
Typically, when speaking of validity, qualitative researchers are referring to research that is credible and trustworthy, i.e., the extent to which one can have confidence in the study’s findings (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Generalizability, a marker of reliability, is typically not a main purpose of qualitative research because the researcher rarely selects a random sample with a goal to generalize to a population or to other settings and groups. Rather, a qualitative researcher’s goal is often to understand a unique event or a purposively selected group of individuals. Therefore, when speaking of reliability, qualitative researchers are typically referring to research that is consistent or dependable (Lincoln & Guba, 1985), i.e., the extent to which the findings of the study are consistent with the data that was collected.
References
Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
For this Discussion, you will explain criteria for evaluating the quality of qualitative research and consider the connection of such criteria to philosophical orientations. You will also consider the ethical implications of designing qualitative research.
With these thoughts in mind:
By Day 4
Post an explanation of two criteria for evaluating the quality of qualitative research designs. Next, explain how these criteria are tied to epistemological and ontological assumptions underlying philosophical orientations and the standards of your discipline. Then, identify a potential ethical issue in qualitative research and explain how it might influence design decisions. Finally, explain what it means for a research topic to be amenable to scientific study using a qualitative approach.

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