, Volume 44, Issue 5, pp 881-892
Date: 09 May 2009

Generalization practices in qualitative research: a mixed methods case study

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Abstract

The purpose of this mixed methods case study was to examine the generalization practices in qualitative research published in a reputable qualitative journal. In order to accomplish this, all qualitative research articles published in Qualitative Report since its inception in 1990 (n =  273) were examined. A quantitative analysis of the all 125 empirical qualitative research articles revealed that a significant proportion (i.e., 29.6%) of studies involved generalizations beyond the underlying sample that were made inappropriately by the author(s). A qualitative analysis identified the types of over-generalizations that occurred, which included making general recommendations for future practice and providing general policy implications based only on a few cases. Thus, a significant proportion of articles published in Qualitative Report lack what we call interpretive consistency.