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Book

Reducing Bias and Error

Conclusions reached through qualitative data collection and analysis are likely to be denigrated as subjective, non-replicable and invalid unless the researcher takes steps to reduce errors and bias. All research methods aim toward achieving valid and reliable measures of social reality. For qualitative researchers, validity – defined as the ability to produce correct answers – and reliability, or the ability to produce the same answers repeatedly with reasonably similar measures, are related to the process of engagement between researcher and respondent. 5 There are many who argue that the application of positivist concepts such as validity are inappropriate for qualitative research. Focus groups and other approaches tap into a dynamic and changeable reality that is distinct from that sought in survey studies. Qualitative research aims toward a substantive validity – that is, the approach works in that it produces findings that are valuable in designing products, programs and communications. The ...

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