Enhancing rigor in qualitative description: a case study

Jill Milne, Kathleen Oberle
Journal of Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nursing 2005, 32 (6): 413-20
Qualitative description has generally been viewed as the "poor cousin" to more developed qualitative methods, such as grounded theory. As such, little has been written about rigor in qualitative description, and researchers lack a navigational map to guide them and facilitate decision making. The novice, in particular, can be faced with numerous challenges and uncertainties. Using an incontinence project as a case study, the authors describe the issues that arose within a qualitative descriptive study and approaches used to maintain rigor. The overall credibility of the study depended on the researcher's ability to capture an insider (emic) perspective and to represent that perspective accurately. Strategies to enhance rigor included flexible yet systematic sampling, ensuring participants had the freedom to speak, ensuring accurate transcription and data-driven coding, and on-going attention to context.


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