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Qual Health Res. 2020 Jan;30(2):196-204. doi: 10.1177/1049732319860267. Epub 2019 Jul 5.

Rigor in Qualitative Methods: An Evaluation of Strategies Among Underrepresented Rural Communities.

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Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.


Achieving rigor using selected criteria to determine trustworthiness using qualitative methods has been without critical evaluation. In this article, strategies such as prolonged engagement and thick, rich description; negative case analysis; peer review or briefing; clarifying researcher bias; member checking; and, investigator triangulation and intercoder reliability are evaluated for appropriateness among an African American Appalachian rural population. Achieving rigor using qualitative methods among participants living in rural communities is time intensive requiring attention to quality versus quantity of time spent in interviews, building trusting relationships, an awareness of interviewer bias and assumptions, and appropriately evaluated strategies that enhance validity. Strategies to achieve rigor in qualitative methods should not be used as a one size fits all approach as this practice might actually diminish rigor. Among underrepresented populations, strategies should be adapted or not used at all.


African Americans; Appalachian populations; qualitative; qualitative research; rigor; rural


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