Analytic Distinctions among the Numerous Qualitative Traditions

Background information for this week:
To make your data more readily accessible and understandable, the vast array of words, sentences, and paragraphs have to be reduced to what is of most importance and interest and then transformed to draw out key themes and patterns. (To learn more on White Paper and Mind Maps, view Spotlight on Skills in the Course Resource module under the table of contents.)
Although there are some specific analytic distinctions among the numerous qualitative traditions or genres, data analysis is somewhat of a stepwise process and is largely centered on identifying and developing themes, which become the study’s findings. The study’s findings must provide an answer to each of the research questions.
To be accepted as trustworthy, qualitative researchers must demonstrate that data analysis has been conducted in a precise, consistent, and exhaustive manner through recording, systematizing, and disclosing the methods of analysis in sufficient detail to enable the reader to determine whether the process is believable and can be trusted (Bloomberg & Volpe, 2019).
Based on the identification of four aspects of trustworthiness that are relevant to both quantitative and qualitative studies (truth value, applicability, consistency, and neutrality) and at the same time taking into account the philosophical differences between qualitative and quantitative approaches, Guba (1981) developed a model that identified four aspects of trustworthiness that are relevant to qualitative studies. Guba (1981) and Lincoln and Guba (1985) also defined different strategies for addressing these criteria, thereby increasing the rigor of qualitative research.
As you will read in the literature, there are four trustworthiness criteria for qualitative research. These criteria—credibility, dependability, confirmability, and transferability—are somewhat parallel to the trustworthiness criteria for quantitative research but differ in some fundamental ways. Criteria for evaluating qualitative research differ from those used in quantitative research in that the focus is on how well you provide evidence that your descriptions and analysis represent the reality of the situations and persons studied (Bloomberg & Volpe, 2019).
In sum, according to Bloomberg and Volpe (2019):
• Credibility refers to whether the participants’ perceptions match up with the researcher’s portrayal of them.
• Dependability refers to the stability and consistency of data over time, and also whether the data are providing adequate responses to the study’s research questions.
• Confirmability is concerned with establishing that the findings and interpretations are clearly derived from the data.
• Transferability refers to the extent to which a study’s findings can be applied to other similar contexts.
Each trustworthiness criterion is associated with various strategies that are used to address and satisfy the criterion, and so employing these strategies is critical.
In your dissertation, you will be expected to be able to describe in detail your analytic approach and show that you are able to demonstrate how you got from your data to your conclusions. You will also need to explain your strategies undertaken to reduce the influence of researcher bias. Your reflexivity—that is, your willingness and ability to reflect deeply on the impact of your biases and assumptions on all aspects of the research process—will support the transparency of your study (Bloomberg & Volpe, 2019). Transparency is key to ensuring that the community of researchers and scholars will trust your analysis and interpretation of what your research participants said and did in the field, thereby supporting the credibility, dependability, and confirmability of your research, and the transferability of your findings (Bloomberg & Volpe, 2019). Ultimately, if others trust what you have done, they may use it in their own research and practice, supporting the credibility of your research, the dependability of your research approach, and the transferability and usability of your study’s findings.
This week, you are asked to develop and present a teaching tool or instructional device. The scenario of the student-as-instructor from last week, therefore, carries over into this week. Last week you were assigned the task of explaining to your graduate students how to go about analyzing, evaluating, and presenting their research data. This week, as the dissertation instructor you will seek to submit a white paper for publication. This week’s assignment, where you are asked to compile a white paper, is an excellent opportunity to think more broadly about the topic of qualitative analysis. This assignment is also a way for you to start thinking about the possibility of publishing your work, too—as graduate researchers seek to do. Journal publications require a writer to provide detailed information—but in a very focused, explicit, and succinct manner. This is how a white paper is written, too; and further explanation is provided in this week’s resources. Remember, all the study material included in this course is designed to be relevant and applicable to your current or future work in the field of qualitative research.
Be sure to review this week’s resources carefully. You are expected to apply the information from these resources when you prepare your assignments.
Use these References (attached in the files):
Bloomberg, L. D., & Volpe, M. (2019). Completing your qualitative dissertation: A road map from beginning to end (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
• Read Pages 202-206 and 210-211 of Chapter 8 “Presenting Methodology and Research Approach.”
• This chapter provides you with an overview of the four trustworthiness criteria for qualitative research: credibility, dependability, confirmability, and transferability. Reflexive questions afford you an opportunity to think more critically about issues related to the trustworthiness of qualitative analysis.

Koelsch, L. E. (2013). Reconceptualizing the Member Check Interview. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 12(1), 168–179.

• This article debates the use of member checks as an important component of trustworthiness in qualitative research. Traditionally, the member check was used to assess the accuracy with which a researcher represented a participant’s subjectivity.

Nowell, L. S., Norris, J. M., White, D. E., & Moules, N. J. (2017). Thematic Analysis: Striving to Meet the Trustworthiness Criteria. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 16(1), 1.
• To be accepted as trustworthy, qualitative researchers must demonstrate that data analysis has been conducted in a precise, consistent, and exhaustive manner. The purpose of this article is to guide researchers using thematic analysis in order to systematize and increase the traceability and verification of the analysis.

Shenton, A. K. (2004). Strategies for ensuring trustworthiness in qualitative research projects. Education for Information, 22(2), 63–75.
• Some critics have been reluctant to accept the trustworthiness of qualitative research. This paper suggests that it is the responsibility of research-methods teachers to ensure that a model for ensuring trustworthiness is followed by students undertaking a qualitative inquiry.

Addressing Standards of Trustworthiness in Qualitative Research: Dr. Linda Bloomberg.
• This presentation reviews all four key criteria of trustworthiness in qualitative research and describes the strategies to address and satisfy each criterion.
Other possible resources to use:
Guba, E. G. (1981). Criteria for assessing the trustworthiness of naturalistic inquiries. Educational Resources Information Center Annual Review Paper, 29, 75-91.
Lincoln, Y. S, & Guba, E. A. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Beverly Hills, CA: SAGE.
NCU Library. (2018, March 20). Q. How do I create a mind map or concept map? Ask us! Northcentral University Library.
Link to article:
For help in developing a mind map and various tools for creation.

This week’s assignment requires you to compile a white paper. What is a white paper? Essentially, this is an authoritative report or guide that informs readers about a complex relevant issue. The paper combines expert knowledge and research. In the paper, the content and research inform the reader and increases their understanding of the problem or issue.
In this white paper your problem or issue to be addressed is Trustworthiness of Qualitative Data. NOTE: It is not the problem related to your topic.
To be successful as the writer of the white paper, you need to understand and include all key elements related to the topic at hand, which for this white paper is trustworthiness of qualitative data. The reader will want to be sure you have something meaningful to say, and you are a credible source. Your white paper should, therefore, be well researched and documented, clearly demonstrating your understanding of the topic and also including supporting evidence to substantiate your claims. In order to write a valuable document, all research materials must come from credible, reliable sources.
Readers who are drawn to your message are hopefully willing to explore it. You can engage readers by showing them you understand the problem and by showing mastery of the subject. You achieve this through detailed, clear, and focused writing. Your main goal is to be persuasive and ensure that you directly address the needs of your audience.
Please refer to the Spotlight on Skills for preparing to write your white paper. Here are some additional tips to help you prepare:
• You may want to create an outline before you begin writing to assist you in creating a paper that flows clearly and logically. In this respect, you may want to use a mind-map to help create an outline for your paper. A mind-map allows a writer to catalog and connect the many different pieces into one visual overview.
• The title that you choose should clearly indicate what the reader will learn from the white paper. A creative, meaningful, enticing title drives readership.
• White papers generally follow a standard document format – Introduction, supporting body paragraphs focused on an aspect of the topic, and a conclusion.
• Make use of appropriate headings and subheadings to structure your argument so that the paper is reader-friendly and easy to follow.
• Clarity and conciseness of writing are key! Remember, you want to keep your reader interested and engaged. You never want to lose your reader.
• You may wish to include images, charts, graphs, and other figures in your paper to back up your claims and capture your audience’s attention. Remember, the overall goal is to be informative and capture the attention of your audience!
Now you are ready to begin writing! For this assignment, your white paper must serve as an educational tool to engage, inform, and convince your readers about the importance of the trustworthiness of qualitative data analysis and also inform them of all the various ways that the four trustworthiness criteria (credibility, transferability, dependability, and confirmability) must be addressed. Ensure in the work that you cite scholarly, peer-reviewed sources.
As you put pen to paper, remember that your white paper should include all the following components:

o Introduction. A compelling introduction. This section provides the background information required for the audience to grasp the problem, which is more fully discussed in the next paragraph. In this white paper your problem or issue to be addressed is Trustworthiness of Qualitative Data. NOTE: It is not the problem related to your topic.
o Problem. A paragraph discussing the problem or issue. The problem or issue needs to be clearly defined and placed within a context to ensure that it is clearly understood by the reader. (The context can be a study you have previously reviewed.) In this section, it is essential that you support your description with research-based evidence.
• Four Criteria of Trustworthiness. For this paper, each criteria of Trustworthiness of Qualitative Data (credibility, transferability, dependability, and confirmability) should be a heading. You will have body paragraphs that discuss in detail all four qualitative trustworthiness criteria and how you would approach and mitigate potential threats to these criteria by detailing all the specific steps you can take to avoid or minimize these threats. These threats present potential limitations in your study.
• Conclusion. The conclusion summarizes the white paper’s major ideas. Here, you will also provide recommendations based on the solution.
• References (on a new page). All sources used to develop the white paper must be cited in this section. These references offer your reader content for further research. Remember, all citations and references must follow APA format and style.

For this assignment, your white paper must serve as an educational tool to engage, inform, and convince your readers about the importance of the trustworthiness of qualitative data analysis and also inform them of all the various ways that the four trustworthiness criteria must be addressed. In developing and writing your paper, please respond to the following two prompts:

  1. Expand your knowledge of the four qualitative trustworthiness criteria, by exploring how they relate to qualitative data analysis:
    a. credibility
    b. dependability
    c. confirmability
    d. transferability
  2. Provide an overview of the strategies that can be used in qualitative data analysis to address each of the criteria above. Discuss how you would approach and mitigate potential threats to the trustworthiness of your study’s findings by detailing all the specific steps you will take to avoid or minimize researcher bias.
    To make sure that you include all the necessary components of this assignment, structure your essay clearly and thoughtfully by using appropriate headings and subheadings. Also, be sure to abide by all APA guidelines.
    Length: 8-10 pages, not including title and reference pages
    References: minimum of 4 scholarly sources

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