Qualitative Research: A Case for a Multi-Angle View to Enhance ‘Validity’

  •  Ashfaq Khan    


Qualitative and quantitative organizational research methods have been fiercely debated with regards to their‘value’ in terms of the ‘validity’ and ‘generalizability’ of their respective research outcomes. Qualitative orphenomenological research paradigm requires a ‘holistic’ approach to analysing a particular phenomenon in orderto address ‘validity’ and ‘generalizability’ issues, and therefore necessitates more ‘intense’ and ‘comprehensive’approach to data analyses. This conceptual paper adds to the current debate among the positivists and thephenomenologists on the superiority of a particular research method and, resorting to the dialectical analysis,contributes to the current literature on organizational research methods through conditionalising the ‘validity’ and‘generalizability’ of the research outcomes under the qualitative research paradigm to the use of appropriate‘research design’. Using the microfinance sector’s paradigm shift of the 1990s as a case, the paper argues that,under the qualitative research paradigm, ‘viewing’ and ‘analysing’ a qualitative set of data with a combination oftwo or three established theoretical constructs would help the researcher overcome the relative ‘flaw’ or‘incapacity’ of a single theoretical construct to address all aspects of a social phenomenon under investigation, andtherefore, not only enhance readers’ understanding of the issue but also conclude the research with relatively more‘valid’ and ‘generalizable’ outcomes.

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