Summary of the results

Guidelines present multiple structures (hardly comparable)

  • Lack of criteria definitions, “bizarre blend” of concepts and steps of a research plan
  • The various guidelines serve different objectives and evaluate different research steps
  • Differences are not directly associated to disciplinary fields, and appear to be more closely linked to different qualitative research conceptualizations within the disciplines
    Results Phase I

This variety is linked to the authors’ paradigmatic references, never explicit but undelying the criteria using in their grids

Guidelines can be classified along a continuum between:
– An almost quantitative conception of evaluation criteria for qualitative research

  • Defined criteria mirror quantitative approaches and are rather poorly or maladapted
  • Lack of criteria that refer to theoretical background, analysis, epistemological stand and values

Conceptions which consider that evaluation of quality in qualitative research must involve others criteria

  • Loosely defined criteria, however, often numerous
  • Insistence on the training of the researcher, values, epistemology and theoretical analysis
    Results Phase II

Necessity to constitute an hierarchical ranking between criteria and to “fix” definition of criteria elements

epistemology vs. qualitative method of data collection vs. methodological tools of data collection vs. data analysis theoriesfleche

  • The consensus can’t be “general” but “plural” by discipline and by the orientation within a discipline.
  • There can not be one single “toolbox” but “several” explaining the type of research concerned by those criteria
  • One must specify the criteria about which there are a consensus within a disciplinary field and those which are object of disagreement
    Results Phase III

Construction of a toolbox

  • Construction of a TOOLBOX©, based on the criteria suggested by the peer users involved in the analyse of pr-existing guidelines, and which will be useful both for qualitative researchers and experts evaluating the studies.
  • TOOLBOX of criteria deemed consensual for the various health science fields examined, while taking into account the diversity of the characteristics of each criterion according to these fields.
  • Comparaison of this TOOLBOX with the guidelines proposed by Spencer et al. (2003) and Pope and Mays (2006) : interesting similarities, that constitute a first basis for agreement between expert users and peer users regarding the essential criteria to evaluate qualitative research in the health science field. (ComparisonThreeGuidelines).
    Results Phase IV