Qualitative research and the question of rigor

Qual Health Res. 2002 Feb;12(2):279-89. doi: 10.1177/104973230201200211.


In this article, the authors discuss the issue of rigor in relation to qualitative social research. It takes a critical focus on the inadequacy of applying a quantitative concept of rigor to evaluate qualitative research. Informed through the researchers' own experience, suggestions are made for a concept of rigor that meets the needs of qualitative research more adequately. Incorporating a notion of ethics, the authors develop a cluster of terms around which they argue that qualitative research can meaningfully speak about rigor: attentiveness, empathy, carefulness, sensitivity, respect, reflection, conscientiousness, engagement, awareness, and openness.

MeSH terms

  • Anecdotes as Topic
  • Bias
  • Ethics
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design
  • Social Sciences*