quality framework

The “Quality” in Qualitative Research Debate & the Total Quality Framework

The following is a modified excerpt from Applied Qualitative Research Design: A Total Quality Framework Approach (Roller & Lavrakas, 2015, pp.15-17).

The field of qualitative research has paid considerable attention in the past half century to the issue of research “quality.” Despite these efforts, there remains a lack of agreement among qualitative researchers about how quality should be defined and how it should be evaluated (cf. Lincoln & Guba, 1985, 1986; Lincoln, 1995; Morse et al., 2002; Reynolds et al., 2011; Rolfe, 2006; Schwandt, Lincoln, & Guba, 2007). Some who seem to question whether quality can be defined and evaluated appear to hold the view that each qualitative research is so singularly unique in terms of how the data are created and how sense is made of these data that striving to assess quality is a wasted effort that never leads to a satisfying outcome about which agreement can be reached. Among other things, this suggests that validity – meaning, “the correctness or credibility of a description, conclusion, explanation, interpretation, or other sort of account” (Maxwell, 2013, p. 122) – is solely in the eye of the beholder and that convincing someone else that a qualitative study has generated valid and actionable findings is more an effort of subjective persuasion than an effort of applying dispassionate logic to whether the methods that were used to gather and analyze the data led to “valid enough” conclusions for the purpose(s) to which they were meant to serve.

Controversy also exists about how to determine the quality of a qualitative study. Arguments are made by some that the quality of a qualitative study is determined solely by the methods and processing that the researchers have used to conduct their studies. Others argue Read Full Text

Credible Qualitative Research: The Total Quality Framework Credibility Component

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

Applying a Quality Framework to the In-depth Interview Method