Fresh, insightful and clear, this exciting textbook provides an engaging introduction to the application of qualitative methodology in the real world. Expert researchers then trace the history and philosophical underpinnings of different methodologies, explore the specific demands each places upon the researcher and robustly set out relevant issues surrounding quality and rigor. Featured methodologies include action research, discourse analysis, ethnography, grounded theory, case studies and narrative inquiry. This practical book provides a helpful guide to the research process - it introduces the relevant methods of generating, collecting and analysing data for each discrete methodology and then looks at best practice for presenting findings. This enables new researchers to compare qualitative methods and to confidently select the approach most appropriate for their own research projects. Key features include: • Summary table for each chapter - allowing quick checks to test knowledge • ‘Window into’ sections - real world examples showing each methodology in action • Student activities • Learning objectives • Full glossary • Annotated suggestions for further reading • Links to downloadable SAGE articles • Links to relevant websites and organizations This is an invaluable resource for students and researchers across the social sciences and a must-have guide for those embarking on a research project. Visit the accompanying companion website for a range of free additional resources.

Quality in Qualitative Research

Melanie Birks

Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Define the concept of quality in relation to qualitative research
  • Outline current debates in respect of what constitutes quality in research
  • Identify factors that influence quality in the conduct of your own study
  • Conduct an evaluation of a qualitative research study


In undertaking a research study the intent is usually to produce findings that will make a contribution to knowledge and ultimately make a difference to the relevant disciplinary area. Such an outcome requires the research to have credibility with the potential end user. Thus quality must be evident in both the products and processes of the research. In this chapter we explore concepts relevant to evaluation of qualitative research ...

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