Toward an agenda for evaluation of qualitative research

Qual Health Res. 2009 Oct;19(10):1504-16. doi: 10.1177/1049732309348501.


Evaluation is essential for research quality and development, but the diversity of traditions that characterize qualitative research suggests that general checklists or shared criteria for evaluation are problematic. We propose an approach to research evaluation that encourages reflexive dialogue through use of an evaluation agenda. In proposing an evaluation agenda we shift attention from rule-based judgment to reflexive dialogue. Unlike criteria, an agenda may embrace pluralism, and does not request consensus on ontological, epistemological, and methodological issues, only consensus on what themes warrant discussion. We suggest an evaluation agenda-EPICURE-with two dimensions communicated through use of two acronyms.The first, EPIC, refers to the challenge of producing rich and substantive accounts based on engagement, processing, interpretation, and (self-)critique. The second-CURE-refers to the challenge of dealing with preconditions and consequences of research, with a focus on (social) critique, usefulness, relevance, and ethics. The seven items of the composite agenda EPICURE are presented and exemplified. Features and implications of the agenda approach to research evaluation are then discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Checklist
  • Communication
  • Data Collection / standards
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Humans
  • Knowledge
  • Qualitative Research*
  • Research Design / standards*