Towards rigour in qualitative research: a discussion seminar
In this interactive seminar, I would like to make you reflect about the rigour of your own research strategies. Throughout the seminar, I will draw on examples from my own fieldwork in Belgium and South Africa, but I trust that we can also discuss the strengths and the limitations of your own methodologies. The starting point is that evaluation criteria used within the positivist research paradigm (internal validity, external validity, reliability and objectivity) cannot be used as meaningful guidelines for the evaluation of research conducted within interpretivist, naturalist or constructivist paradigms. Based on the work of Lincoln and Guba (1985) and its application in human geography by Baxter and Eyles (1997), I will propose four new evaluation criteria (credibility, transferability, dependability and confirmability). I will also discuss strategies to increase the likelihood that research findings based on in-depth interviews, focus-groups, observations, … are credible, transferable, dependable and confirmable. In the conviction that ethical issues should be central to the evaluation of qualitative research, I will add the notions of informed consent, confidentiality, harm and exploitation as a fifth evaluation criteria.
Nick Schuermans is a postdoctoral researcher and teaching associate at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. He is the day-to-day coordinator of the interdisciplinary research program on Cities and Newcomers and a lecturer in the Erasmus Mundus MSc 4CITIES and the Msc Geography master’s degree programs. His current research builds upon his interest in the geographies of encounter and solidarity, and focuses on the role of diverse groups of professionals in the accommodation of newcomers in the city of Brussels.
Participation is open to all interested in discussing qualitative research methodology issues.
For those interested in presenting their work at the round table, please write an email to email@example.com