Validation of qualitative research in the "real world"

Qual Health Res. 2003 Oct;13(8):1170-9. doi: 10.1177/1049732303255686.


In this article, the author takes up the debate about the usefulness of the concept of validity in qualitative research and acknowledges the critical role of the researcher as an "instrument" in the research process. Qualitative research, and the process of analysis in particular, involves continuous reflexivity and self-scrutiny. Balancing the need for creativity and rigor, the qualitative researcher can experience uncertainty, particularly in relation to small numbers. The author describes steps that she and a colleague took to ensure the validity and accuracy of the findings in a qualitative study of female sex workers. She discusses specific challenges in relation to the validity of their interpretation and describes two unexpected and serendipitous validity checks that served as affirmation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Qualitative Research*
  • Reproducibility of Results*