Demonstrating the validity of qualitative research

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Intro: Most qualitative research had its origins in philosophical traditions such as phenomenology, pragmatism, and constructivism, which argue that all the knowledge that we can obtain (both of ourselves and the world around us) is inevitably mediated and constrained by our own perspective, purposes, language, and culture (Camic, Rhodes, & Yardley, 2003). This argument applies to obtaining knowledge through research. The traditional scientific aspiration to obtain ‘objective’ knowledge, ideally unaffected by the activities and preconceptions of the researchers and participants, is therefore viewed as unachievable and indeed inappropriate. This difference in the epistemological assumptions and aims of qualitative and scientific psychological traditions necessitates quite different approaches to demonstrating the value and validity of research. Scientific psychology relies on measures of psychosocial processes that can be shown to be independent of their context – for example, assessments of constructs and relationships that can be reliably quantified by different researchers in different people and contexts at different time-points. In contrast, qualitative psychology seeks to investigate how psychosocial processes are shaped by all the people, activities and understandings that make up their ever-changing context (including the research context). For example, our ‘Person-Based Approach’ to intervention development uses qualitative research to find out how people interpret, react to, and utilize our health management support interventions, so that we can make them more persuasive and compatible with intervention users’ lives (Yardley, Morrison, Bradbury, & Muller, 2015).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-296
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Positive Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2016

Structured keywords

  • Physical and Mental Health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Demonstrating the validity of qualitative research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this