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BUSI 815 Liberty University Validity and Reliability in Qualitative Research Discussion

BUSI 815 Liberty University Validity and Reliability in Qualitative Research Discussion

BUSI 815 Liberty University Validity and Reliability in Qualitative Research Discussion


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Validity and Reliability in Qualitative Research

Validity and reliability are measures applied in research to ensure researchers’ biases in investigating, collecting and analyzing data, and reporting are expunged from the study. According to Lakshmi and Mohideen (2013), achieving validity and reliability are among the most difficult challenges faced by researchers. In quantitative research, the validity construct is composed of internal validity, external validity and reliability. While internal validity gauges the astuteness of the research method, external validity measures the degree to which results obtained in the study are transferable to other groups (populations (Lakshmi & Mohideen, 2013). High validity describes a situation where the research is applicable to other situations and low validity is when the research cannot be replicated in other situations. Reliability on the other hand is the degree to which metrics are free from error and therefore yield consistent results. Because reliability is the repeatability of the result to obtain the same result, it focuses on consistency of a measurement procedure and reproducibility of test scores using the same testing instruments (Lakshmi & Mohideen, 2013).

It has been questioned if the notion of validity and reliability can be applied in qualitative research given its specificities. According to Noble and Smith (2015), qualitative research is frequently criticized for lacking scientific rigor, depicted in poor justification of the methods adopted, lack of transparency in the analytical procedures and the findings being merely a collection of personal opinions subject to researcher bias. Proponents of this criticism base their argument on the inappropriateness and incompatibility of the validity and reliability construct as a measure of quality (rigor) of qualitative research. Qualitative research scholars such as Lincoln and Guba (1985) proposed alternative terms that they assert adhere more to naturistic research aimed at investigating lived experiences of people to understand a real-world phenomenon (Creswell & Poth, 2018). Thus, credibility, transferability, dependability and confirmability are used in qualitative research as equivalents of internal validity, external validity and reliability (Creswell & Poth, 2018). These alternative measurement constructs are suitable for studies conducted in this course and for a qualitative dissertation. However, because a qualitative dissertation requires more time in the field investigating and collecting data, the qualitative measurement constructs must be operationalized by triangulation, disconfirmation and reflexibility to establish credibility. According to Creswell and Poth (2018), triangulation allows the researcher to use multiple sources of data to answer the research questions, disconfirmation allows the researcher to refine the working hypothesis as negative evidence emanates during the study and reflexibility permits the researcher to compare current data with previously collected data.

Demonstrating validity and reliability is important to the Christian researcher for the same reason it is for a secular researcher. However, because truth is the underpinning of Christianity, credibility in Christian research is assigned higher standards than is applicable in secular research. The reason for this higher standard is, Christian worldview is based on beliefs than cannot be proven scientifically hence, when the Christian researcher studies a phenomenon validity and reliability must be on the high end to authenticate the study. The statement in Keller (2012, p. 203) “But indeed, as Bible scholar Bruce Waltke points out, the Bible says that the very definition of righteous people is that they disadvantage themselves to advantage others, while ‘the wicked…are willing to disadvantage the community to advantage themselves.’” Speaks to the concept of altruïsm and egotism and when applied in research, it addresses ethical issues in conducting research. What it means to a Christian researcher is, research must not be conducted for selfish reasons but rather, must aim at solving a problem that will be beneficial to the society.


Creswell, J. W. & Poth, C. N. (2018). Qualitative inquiry & research design: Choosing among

five approaches. (4th ed). Sage Publication.

Keller, T. (with Alsdorf, K. L.), (2012). Every good endeavor: Connecting your work to God’s

Work. Penguin Books

Lakshmi, S., & Mohideen, M. A. (2013). Issues in reliability and validity of

research. International Journal of Management Research and Reviews, 3(4), 2752-2758

Noble, H., & Smith, J. (2015). Issues of validity and reliability in qualitative research.

Evidence-Based Nursing, 18(2), 34.

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