Letters

Checklists for improving rigour in qualitative research

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7311.514/b (Published 01 September 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:514

Never mind the tail (checklist), check out the dog (research)

  1. Robert Power, senior lecturer in medical sociology (rpower@gum.ucl.ac.uk)
  1. Royal Free and University College Medical School, London WC1E 6AU
  2. University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4HN

    EDITOR—Barbour's article is tantalising and mystifying in equal measure.1 She is right to counsel qualitative researchers from shielding behind a protective wall of checklists and quasi-paradigmatic research techniques—although the same should be levelled at epidemiologists, statisticians, and health economists, with all researchers being charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the research tools and analysis fit the question to be addressed. Yet, and this is where the tantalising becomes mystifying, she twice (once in the second paragraph and again in the last) tells us that our research strategies need to be informed by the epistemology of qualitative research, without giving us an inkling as to what she believes this to be. Although she rightly espouses the importance of context for qualitative researchers, she denies us the context in which to assess her own critique.

    As …

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