The issues surrounding the use and nature of the term 'validity' in qualitative research are controversial and many. In this paper, the author attempts to establish that 'validity' is not a single, fixed or universal concept, but rather a contingent construct, inescapably grounded in the processes and intentions of particular research methodologies and projects. The first section of this work deals with the problems faced in defining 'validity' in both quantitative and qualitative research methods and will briefly review other authors' attempts to categorise it. The work will then proceed to distinguish and compare the claims to 'validity' made by quantitative and qualitative researchers, highlighting similarities and differences as they emerge. Finally, an attempt will be made to establish that an understanding of nature of 'truth' is central to any theorisation of 'validity.' It will become clear that it is the affiliations of methodologies, concerning truth, that generate varying notions of 'validity.'


qualitative research

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