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Qualitative methods are now widely used and increasingly accepted in health research, but quality in qualitative research is a mystery to many health services researchers. There is considerable debate over the nature of the knowledge produced by such methods and how such research should be judged. Antirealists argue that qualitative and quantitative research are very different and that it is not possible to judge qualitative research by using conventional criteria such as reliability, validity, and generalisability. Quality in qualitative research can be assessed with the same broad concepts of validity and relevance used for quantitative research, but these need to be operationalised differently to take into account the distinctive goals of qualitative research.


Journal article


British Medical Journal

Publication Date





50 - 52