Evaluation criteria and validity

Most authors within the academic literature agrees that evaluation of qualitative research is necessary, but there is little consensus about what the evaluation should consist of .

One issue related to this is of the concept of validity, generalization, and reliability, initially developed within the context of traditionally fixed designs used to collect quantitative data; its applicability for more flexible designs with qualitative data has therefore been questioned.

Moreover, knowledge developed according to a systems approach does not become general in the same absolute way as knowledge developed in accordance with the analytical approach. Thomas argue for the following criteria for evaluating case studies; Justification, why was the strategy adopted? Is it appropriate to the problem? Was the intention to describe, explain or both? Selection, how many cases were used?

How were they selected? Why these cases? If access to a site was required, how was this obtained? Ethics, was it necessary to disguise the identity of the cases? Where there any other ethical difficulties? Data, what data were obtained, from what resources and by what methods?

Analysis, how were the data organized and summarized? Was cross-case analysis possible? Presentation, has a coherent and convincing account of the study been written? How has the presentation been organized? When validity of a research study is considered, two basic types are traditionally proposed i.e., internal and external validity. However, there is some critique against this way of validating qualitative research.

Instead it has been suggested that words like credibility, dependability, confirmability, verification, and transferability should be used instead of validation.