Our research is of little value if the outcomes are not deemed useful in some way. This is true for all types of research. Whether it is qualitative, quantitative, or a mixed methods approach, the “carrot” that dangles ahead of the research team is the promise of reaching worthwhile, actionable conclusions and recommendations for the users and sponsors of the research. Achieving this objective – reaching the “carrot” of useful research – is the product of the quality measures put into place at the data collection, analysis, and reporting phases of the research design.
The Total Quality Framework (TQF)* offers a way of thinking about these quality measures in a qualitative research design. The TQF is comprised of four inter-related components, each having to do with a stage of the research process. Recent articles in Research Design Review have discussed three of these components – Credibility pertaining to data collection, Analyzability having to do with the processing and verification of qualitative data, and Transparency relating to the reporting of details associated with data collection, analysis, and the drawing of interpretations.
The fourth component of the TQF is Usefulness or the “ability to do something of value with the outcomes.” The ultimate strength of the Usefulness component is a function of the vigor – the attention to quality – within the Credibility (data collection), Analyzability (analysis), and Transparency (reporting) components. In this way, the Usefulness component relies on each of the other components independently as well as collectively. The goal is to maximize the value of a qualitative research study for Read Full Text
A March 2017 article in Research Design Review discussed the Credibility component of the Total Quality Framework (TQF). As stated in the March article, the TQF “offers qualitative researchers a way to think about the quality of their research designs across qualitative methods and irrespective of any particular paradigm or theoretical orientation” and revolves around the four phases of the qualitative research process – data collection, analysis, reporting, and doing something of value with the outcomes (i.e., usefulness). The Credibility piece of the TQF has to do with data collection. The main elements of Credibility are Scope and Data Gathering – i.e., how well the study is inclusive of the population of interest (Scope) and how well the data collected accurately represent the constructs the study set out to investigate (Data Gathering).
The present article briefly describes the second TQF component – Analyzability. Analyzability is concerned with the “completeness and accuracy of the analysis and interpretations” of the qualitative data derived in data collection and consists of two key parts – Processing and Verification. Processing involves the careful consideration of: Read Full Text
The Total Quality Framework (TQF) has been discussed in several articles appearing in Research Design Review. Some of these articles simply reference the TQF in the context of a broader discussion while others – such as “A Quality Approach to the Qualitative Research Proposal” and “Evaluating Quality Standards in a Qualitative Research Literature Review” – speak more directly about applications of the TQF. The TQF is defined as “a comprehensive perspective for creating, managing, and interpreting quality research designs and evaluating the likelihood that a qualitative study will provide information that is valid and useful for the purposes for which the study is intended” (Roller & Lavrakas, 2015, pp. 21-22). In essence, the framework offers qualitative researchers a way to think about the quality of their research designs across qualitative methods as well as a particular paradigm or theoretical orientation. In this way, the TQF is grounded in the core belief that,
if it is agreed that qualitative research can, in fact, serve worthwhile purposes, then logically it would serve those purposes only to the degree that it is done well, regardless of the specific objectives that qualitative researchers strive to address. (p.20)
There are four components to the TQF – Credibility, Analyzability, Transparency, and Usefulness – each pertaining to a distinct aspect of the research process. The schematic (below) shows the Read Full Text