This reflective paper is the outcome of my qualitative research engagement aligned with quality standards. I began with autoethnography in my master's research in mathematics education (see Dahal, 2013), then moved on to narrative inquiry in my MPhil research (see Dahal, 2017), and collaborative autoethnography in my doctoral research (see Dahal, 2023). With the above, this paper aims to clarify the quality criteria used in autoethnography, narrative inquiry, and collaborative autoethnography based on my experiences to evaluate the robustness of qualitative research from various ontological and epistemological vantage points. Likewise, this article offers a comprehensive overview of the key elements of qualitative research across master, MPhil, and Ph.D. research that can be used to evaluate the rigor of qualitative reports. In this introspection, I explored the significance of qualitative research and the need to assess it, considering quality criteria and/or characteristics. Quality criteria also offer some insights and recommendations for improving the standard of qualitative reports. From these musings, I deduced that established norms of quality are the product of preexisting paradigmatic (e.g., interpretivism, criticalism, postmodernism, and intergalism) practices and broader socio-institutional processes. It is unrealistic to expect that a single, all-encompassing set of quality standards will be developed for qualitative research due to the diversity of its paradigms. This paper provides novice and veteran researchers and practitioners with an overview of qualitative research's theoretical and methodological foundations and the applicable standards and deciding factors for evaluating qualitative reports.


research engagement, quality standards, autoethnography, narrative inquiry, collaborative autoethnography, quality criteria, evaluate qualitative reports

Author Bio(s)

Niroj Dahal (https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7646-1186), Ph.D. Scholar in STEAM Education, is currently a lecturer at the Department of STEAM Education at Kathmandu University School of Education, Hattiban, Lalitpur, Nepal. His research interests include ICT in education, qualitative research, mathematics education, open, distance & e-learning, STEAM education, research and development, and ICT & e-Research. Mr. Dahal has been teaching graduate and undergraduate students for over a decade. He has also been continuously taking part and presenting his research and practices in more than a dozen plus national and international conferences, workshops, and seminars. He has published articles, research notes, editorials, book reviews, and book chapters in various national and international journals and publication presses in the field of ICT, qualitative research, education in general and mathematics education, and STEAM education in particular. He may be contacted by e-mail at niroj@kusoed.edu.np.


This paper describes the quality standards procedures I used in my qualitative research projects, dissertations, and thesis, for my M.Ed., M.Phil., and Ph.D. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to my M.Ed. dissertation supervisor, Asst. Prof. Binod Prasad Pant, and my MPhil, and PhD dissertation and thesis advisor, Professor Bal Chandra Luitel, PhD. Equally, I want to thank everyone who helped me edit and improve my article. I am grateful to the reviewers and editors of the TQR for their suggestions, comments, and directions that helped make this article publishable. I am thankful to Maria Papantoniou-Frangoul, senior editor, TQR, for offering me important remarks during the incorporation of the suggestions and inputs on review process of the article. I would also like to extend my appreciation to the Kathmandu University School of Education (KUSOED) for fostering a research-based environment and for unwavering support. I thank KUSOED for providing me with the resources and opportunities to grow and learn. Likewise, I am grateful to the University Grants Commission, Nepal for PhD Fellowship and research support. This funding has been essential to my Ph.D. journey, and I am confident it will help me make significant contributions to my field.

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