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Abstract

In this paper, the authors debunk a long-held myth that generalisation is primarily the domain of quantitative research. Based on a review of modern and historical approaches to generalisation, they argue that generalisation from qualitative research (GQR) can be achieved, not through a process of self-justification, but through defensible and rigorous research design and methods. The authors go on to consider examples from their own qualitative research work spanning the last 20 years. From these examples they offer mechanisms that qualitative researchers can employ to generalise from their findings. They suggest that generalisation is achieved through a process of generalisation cycles (GCs) which produce normative truth statements (NTSs), which in turn can be contested or confirmed with theory and empirical evidence.

Keywords

Generalising from Qualitative Research, Generalisation, Qualitative Research, Normative Truth Statements, Evidence and Theory

Author Bio(s)

Dr John Guenther is the Research Leader Education and Training, with Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, based in Darwin, Northern Territory of Australia. Over the last 15 years John has conducted research and evaluation projects which have focused on remote contexts, covering all states and territories of Australia. While his work has focused mainly on learning, the intersections between training and education with health, wellbeing, traditional knowledge systems, economic, natural resource management, mining and a range of social issues, feature in his work. His s research expertise extends from an array of practical qualitative and quantitative methodologies for research and evaluation, through to a range of theoretical and philosophical perspectives. He is interested in the translation of empirical evidence to policy and practice settings. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: john.guenther@batchelor.edu.au.

Professor Ian H Falk PhD is currently Coordinator of the Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre’s BPBI (Bilateral Plant Biosecurity Initiative) based in Indonesia. He is Adjunct Professor at University of Mahasaraswati Denpasar UNMAS, Bali and University of Andi Djemma (UNANDA) Palopo, Southern Sulawesi, Indonesia. Formerly Professor Falk held the Chair of Rural and Remote Education at Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia. His specialisations include social ecology, community, policy and economic development, social capital and learning mechanisms. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: ianhfalk@gmail.com.

Publication Date

5-12-2019

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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