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Triangulation in research, with examples
  1. Helen Noble1,
  2. Roberta Heale2
  1. 1 School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queens University Belfast, Belfast, UK
  2. 2 School of Nursing, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Helen Noble, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK; helen.noble{at}qub.ac.uk

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What is triangulation

Triangulation is a method used to increase the credibility and validity of research findings.1 Credibility refers to trustworthiness and how believable a study is; validity is concerned with the extent to which a study accurately reflects or evaluates the concept or ideas being investigated.2 Triangulation, by combining theories, methods or observers in a research study, can help ensure that fundamental biases arising from the use of a single method or a single observer are overcome. Triangulation is also an effort to help explore and explain complex human behaviour using a variety of methods to offer a more balanced explanation to readers.2 It is a procedure that enables validation of data and can be used in both quantitative and qualitative studies.

Triangulation can enrich research as it offers a variety of datasets to explain differing aspects of a phenomenon of interest. It also helps refute where one dataset invalidates a supposition generated by another. It can assist the confirming of a hypothesis where one set of findings confirms another set. Finally, triangulation can help explain the results of a study.3 Central to triangulation is the notion that methods leading to the same results give more confidence in the research findings.4

Four types of triangulation are proposed by Denzin (p.301):5 (1) data triangulation, which includes matters …

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