Transparency in Qualitative Research: An Overview of Key Findings and Implications of the Deliberations
32 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2019
Date Written: July 31, 2019
In recent years, a variety of efforts have been made in political science to enable, encourage, or require scholars to be more open and explicit about the bases of their empirical claims and, in turn, make those claims more readily evaluable by others. While qualitative scholars have long taken an interest in making their research open, reflexive, and systematic, the recent push for overarching transparency norms and requirements has provoked serious concern within qualitative research communities and raised fundamental questions about the meaning, value, costs, and intellectual relevance of transparency for qualitative inquiry. This essay is the introduction to a symposium that crystallizes the central findings of a three-year deliberative process – the Qualitative Transparency Deliberations (QTD) – involving hundreds of political scientists in a broad discussion of these issues. The symposium’s centerpiece is a series of summaries of the QTD Working Group’s final reports. Drawing on a series of public, online conversations that unfolded at www.qualtd.net, the reports unpack transparency’s promise, practicalities, risks, and limitations in relation to different qualitative methodologies, forms of evidence, and research contexts. Taken as a whole, these reports offer practical guidance to scholars designing and implementing qualitative research, and to editors, reviewers, and funders seeking to develop criteria of evaluation that are appropriate – as understood by relevant research communities – to the forms of inquiry being assessed.
Keywords: qualitative methods, research transparency, research ethics, deliberation
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