The Importance Of Qualitative Communication Research

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Unlike quantitative communication research that seeks to examine objective, measurable data and causal relationships between variables, qualitative communication research concerns itself with processes and meanings that cannot always be experimentally examined. Socially constructed realities and relationships between the researcher and what is being studied are essential components of qualitative inquiry (Denzin & Lincoln, 2003). In contrast with quantitative research, qualitative approaches to validity are not concerned with establishing whether measures of objects, attributes, events or actions correspond with the objective world. According to Harvey (2016), qualitative researchers accept that knowledge of the external world is constructed…show more content…
(Ryan et al., 2007). Rigor is the means of demonstrating the plausibility, credibility and integrity of the qualitative research process. The rigor or trustworthiness, of a study may be established if the reader is able to audit the actions and developments of the researcher (Koch, 1994). Furthermore, Hancock (2002) argued that validity is embodied in the plausibility of the relationship between data and concepts. Potential audiences have to be convinced that the interpretations of the data are compelling and convincing. Such plausibility is aided by consistency of interpretation by different researchers and the systematic presentation of data to convince the reader. Neuman (2006) also argued that a qualitative approach to validity focuses on plausibility and the accumulation and interconnectedness of evidence. Plausible means that the data and statements about it are not exclusive; they are not the only possible claims nor are they exact accounts of the one truth in the world. Neuman further asserts that valididty arises out of the cumulative impact of hundreds of small diverse details that only together create a heavy weight of evidence. Validity grows as a researcher recognizes a dense connectivity in disparate details. It grows with the creation of a web of dynamic connections across diverse realms and not only with the number of specifics that are…show more content…
As such, the researcher needs to identify the criteria used and the reader should be able to clearly follow each step of the research process (Ryan et al., 2007). Although not universally accepted, one of the most common criteria used to evaluate qualitative research that is based on plausibility or trustworthiness involves establishing credibility, transferability, dependability, and confirmability as proposed by Lincoln and Guba (1985). Briefly, credibility is confidence in the truth or believability of the findings. In this regard, qualitative studies have a relative advantage over quantitative studies, in that qualitative work is heavily embedded in thick descriptions of real-life situations, settings and circumstances; transferability is showing that the findings have applicability in other contexts, that is, it implies generalizability of the findings and results of the study to other settings, situations, populations, circumstances, etc.; dependability is showing that the findings are consistent and could be repeated, that is, to look for accurate and adequate documentation of changes, surprise occurrences, and the like, in the phenomena being studied; confirmability is the degree of neutrality or the extent to which the findings of a study are shaped by the respondents and not researcher bias, motivation, or interest (Dereshiwsky, 1999). In
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