Trustworthiness in Qualitative Research

Trustworthiness has grown to be a crucial concept as it enables investigators to explain the virtues of qualitative terms outside of the parameters which are generally used in quantitative research. The purpose of trustworthiness in qualitative research is to support the argument that the inquiry’s results are “worth paying attention to”.

This really is quite different from the typical experimental precedent of attempting to show validity, soundness, and significance.

Thus, the ideas of generalizability, internal validity, reliability, and objectivity are reconsidered in qualitative terms. These substitute terms include transferability, credibility, dependability, and confirmability. In simple terms, trustworthiness refers to as the way in which qualitative research workers make sure that transferability, credibility, dependability, and confirmability are evident in their study.

Four Aspects of Trustworthiness in Qualitative Research

According to Guba’s aspects of trustworthiness which are relevant to both quantitative and qualitative studies are:

1. Truth value

Truth value questions if the investigator has established confidence in the truth of the results for the topics or informants and the context in which the research was undertaken. It determines how confident the investigator is with the truth of the findings based on the research design, informants, and context. Truth value is commonly acquired from the discovery of human experiences as they are lived and perceived by informants.

Lincoln and Guba termed this credibility in qualitative research. Credibility means the concept of internal consistency, where the core issue is how we make sure rigor in the research process and the way we communicate to other people that we have done so.

Credibility can be accomplished by prolonged engagement with people; continual observation in the field; the utilization of peer debriefers or peer researchers; negative case analysis; researcher reflexivity; and participant checks, validation, or coanalysis. Additionally it is increased by a thorough description of source data and a fit between the data and the emerging analysis in addition to by “thick descriptions”

Trustworthiness in Qualitative Research

2. Applicability

It is defined as the degree to which the findings can apply to other contexts and settings or with other groups; it is the capacity to generalize from the findings to greater populations.

Guba introduced the next perspective on applicability in qualitative research by referring to fittingness, or transferability.

Transferability means the level to which the audience has the ability to generalize the results of a research to her or his own context. It is done when the investigator gives adequate information about the self (the researcher as instrument) and also the research context, processes, members, and researcher-participant connections to make it possible for the reader to decide how the findings may transfer.

Transferability in Qualitative Research is more the responsibility of the individual seeking to transfer the findings to a different situation or population than that of the investigator of the initial study.

3. Consistency

Consistency of the data means whether the conclusions would be consistent if the inquiry were repeated with the same subject matter or in a similar context. Consistency is defined in terms of dependability in qualitative research.

Dependability relates to the primary challenge that “the way in which a research is carried out needs to be consistent across time, researchers, and analysis techniques”.

The procedure by which results are produced must be explicit and repeatable whenever possible. This is achieved by means of meticulously monitoring the emerging research design and through keeping an audit trail, which is, an in depth chronology of research activities and processes; influences on the data collection and analysis; emerging themes, classifications, or models; and analytic memos.

Trustworthiness Video on Validity and Reliability in Qualitative Study

4. Neutrality

We can define it as the degree to which the results are a function solely of the informants and conditions of the research and not of other biases, motivations, and views.

Guba suggested that confirmability be the criterion of neutrality. Confirmability in Qualitative Research is founded on the acknowledgment that research is never objective.

It deals with the main issue that “findings should signify, as far as possible, the specific situation being investigated as opposed to the beliefs, pet theories, or biases of the researcher. It is according to the perspective that the integrity of results is based on the data and that the investigator must properly tie together the data, analytic processes, and findings in a manner that the reader is in a position to confirm the adequacy of the findings.

Even though many critics are unwilling to accept the trustworthiness of research, frameworks for ensuring rigour have been around for several years. Guba’s constructs, in particular, have won considerable favour.

The trustworthiness in qualitative research is frequently questioned by positivists, possibly because their ideas of validity and reliability can’t be addressed in the same way in naturalistic work.


  1. REZAEI says:

    OK. VERY GOOD. BUT WHICH ONE IS USED IN QUALITATIVE AND WHICH ON IN QUANTITATIVE? would you mind explaining the concepts of validity, reliability, and transferability. Please can you give ppt file also.

  2. ACStern says:

    Thanks! That’s wonderful: clear and simple!

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