Judging research quality: From certainty to contingency
Criteria, Qualitative research, Validity
Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise
In this article, I hope to stimulate dialogue and reflection among sport and exercise scientists about how one might judge qualitative research. Over the last 40 or so years, much has changed in how we go about sorting out the good from the not-so-good social and educational qualitative research. We have left/are leaving behind the idea of method as a universal, ahistorical criterion for judging research. Instead, it has become increasingly clear that our judgments always have been, and only can be, contingent on historical time and social/cultural/political place. In this article, I discuss this transition from both a philosophical and personal perspective. I conclude that the recent philosophical changes and an understanding of oneself as a person as researcher rather than a researcher as person makes it clear that all social and educational research, including the supposedly ‘scientific’ research, is a matter of telling stories. And when it comes to judging stories, as we are all aware, there are no and can be no, ‘fixed’ criteria. Thus, our judgments about what is good versus bad research are always contestable because our criteria change as we change and we change as our criteria change. © 2009 Taylor & Francis.
Original Publication Date
DOI of published version
Smith, John, "Judging research quality: From certainty to contingency" (2009). Faculty Publications. 2313.