Alternative quality standards in qualitative research?


Qualitative researchers often use other principles for judging the quality of their study than quantitative researchers. This inhibits a straightforward assessment of the quality and comparability of different types of studies, as well as decision-making about their usefulness for further research and practice. In this article, we question the use of alternative criteria, and argue for one coherent and inclusive framework of quality criteria for both qualitative and quantitative studies. We developed such a framework, based on a comparison and operationalization of different criteria, and the elaboration of procedures to realize them. Its usability is demonstrated by the application in a qualitative case study research and a mixed-methods study. This framework enhances advancing and judging the basic quality of any type of scientific research, promoting the assessment of the quality and hence usability of studies for further research or decision-making about practice.

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AvSE schools:

Average Self-Evaluation schools


The Dutch Testing and Measurement Institute


Contact summary sheet

LoSE schools:

Low Self-Evaluation schools


Pupil monitoring system

HiSE schools:

High Self-Evaluation schools


Socio economic status


Senior secondary vocational education


Workplace learning component


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Correspondence to K. Schildkamp.

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Poortman, C.L., Schildkamp, K. Alternative quality standards in qualitative research?. Qual Quant 46, 1727–1751 (2012).

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  • Quantitative-qualitative debate
  • Quality criteria
  • Mixed-methodology
  • Case studies