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Table 2 Two dominant narratives identified in the literature on assuring quality of qualitative research

From: Quality assurance of qualitative research: a review of the discourse

Narrative Perspective Context Conceptualisation of quality in qualitative research Examples Methods for quality assurance recommended in the literature
Output-oriented approach External, post-hoc Efforts to demonstrate credibility of research alongside dominant positivist paradigm, often in context of evidence-based medicine model Range of theoretical constructs of quality; drawn from positivist paradigm, or post-positivist theory Validity
Rigour
Confirmability
Credibility
Trustworthiness
Demonstrating use of techniques considered to be indicators of quality practice, for example:
• triangulation
• member checking
• negative case analysis
• theoretical sampling
• peer review
      Use of 'checklists' commonly recommended
Process-oriented approach Internal, researcher-led; on-going Critique of output-focused approach, with reliance on fixed techniques and constructs of quality derived from positivist paradigm Principles or values of 'best practice', inherent to qualitative approach Reflexivity
Transparency
Comprehensiveness
Responsibility
Ethical practice
Systematic approach
Use of mechanisms which facilitate researcher's enactment of principles of quality, throughout research process, for example:
• Use of field diary to reflect on position and assumptions
• Audit trail to record methodological decisions made, for reflection at interpretation stage
• Ensuring researchers' comprehension of and engagement with their role in assuring quality
      Recommending active methodological awareness over reliance on checklists of techniques