Qualitative Research Methodology

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    How Validity and Reliability Issues with respect to the Instrument i.e. Indepth Interviews can be explained?

    Katie Metzler

    Hi Iftikhar, your question is a little hard to follow – can you provide some further information about what you’re looking for help with? This site can help you with methods questions, but they need to be as specific as possible.

    Thanks, Katie


    Hi Katie!

    First of all, I am thankful for your interest in solving my problem. I have selected Indepth interviews technique to collect data for my study. As you know in Quanitative studies, in case of structured interviews or surveys, one can test the validity of the instrument i.e. questionnair by applying statistical test like chroneback alpha, whereas reliability of these instruments in quanitative studies can be achieved by collecting the data again after some time and if same results are achieved, it means the instrument if found reliable.

    In Qualitative Studies, In case of informal unstructured interviews or semi structured interviews, responds should not be controlled. In that case, which test is available to find the validity of the instrument i.e. “informal unstructured interviews or semi structured interviews” . Similarly, how the reliability of such instrument can be achieved?


    Hello Iftikhar Bhai:

    May I just add that in qualitative study there is no such instrument available. Validity and reliability in qualitative research are a matter of researcher’s personal position, connected to some other areas. It may be as follows: (1) how well the researcher communicates to the reader their position in the researcher; (2) how clearly you describe all the procedures undertaken from A-Z with regards to an interview (in-depth, informal, etc.); (3) how well you address the present limitations to you during the research process.

    These steps are considered inevitable to doing a valid and reliable qualitative research study. However, there are a few very important concepts needed to be undertaken. I have just given the most important.




    Dear Mazhar!

    Thank  you very much for giving time and answering my query. You are absolutely correct about what you have written; Infact, I have alse read about it many times in different books and on the internet but I was not sure. This confusion or state of dubiousness takes me here on methodspace. Anyways, thank you again for your reply.


    Take Care.



    Iftikhar Mehboob 


    I don’t know if I followed your question well.

    Arguably, it is not very relevant to focus on validity and reliability issues when you are using qualitative methods, especially through ethnography. Yet, if you choose to validate your data, which is often referred to as credibility in qualitative method, you can do one of the following or a combination:


    1) Let your research participants verify your transcriptions as a true replica of their in-depth interviews with you

    2) You can use software which is either qualitative such as Atlas, Epi info or software that interprets data both qualitatively and quantitatively like Dedoose

    3) You can also measure your findings against a theory, which means you are bringing your own interpretations to the data collected…

    4) Credibility must also occur during data collection which expects you to engage reflexively with your data and research participants…

    Data validation starts during proposal writing, through field work, and after transcriptions although it is often staged to a period after transcription. All these are debatable approaches, since there is no one sure way of deriving at credibility/validity. I hope that this helps you somehow…



    Thankyou Chipo for your comments, I am really obliged



    Iftikhar Mehboob


    I am sorry Chipo but I’d like to disagree. Credibility does count in the qualitative research methods; however, validity and reliability are “separate and highly profound areas” within qualitative research.

    Sohail Yunis

    Dear Iftikhar,

    How I understand in qualitative research issues of external validity, internal validity, construct validity and reliability are vital (though they are grey sometimes). Actually in qualitative research ‘process of research’ is more important than ‘ research findings because most of qualitative researches are bases on interpretive philosophical assumptions. Coming back to your specific question regarding in-depth interview. I understand an interview protocol, recoding of interview and sending back interview transcribe to respondents can increase reliability to some extent- you can further consult Guba and Lincoln (1989) and Silverman 2009) .  I hope this helps.

    Best of Luck



    Dear Khan,


    It depends on the epistemological approach you are taking despite using qualitative methods. Even within each particular epistomology, there are differences in opinion. Some scholars argue like U that credibility does not count, but others argue like me that credibility is important. There is a lot of literature in this area…Also, it might help to look at arguments on whether it is credibility/validity, is it reliability/dependability…it is a whole range of discussions…I am currently busy, I would have like to share some literature about these arguments…

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