Table 1

Terminology and criteria used to evaluate the credibility of research findings

Quantitative research terminology and application to qualitative research4Alternative terminology associated with credibility of qualitative research5
The precision in which the findings accurately reflect the data
Truth value
Recognises that multiple realities exist; the researchers’ outline personal experiences and viewpoints that may have resulted in methodological bias; clearly and accurately presents participants’ perspectives
The consistency of the analytical procedures, including accounting for personal and research method biases that may have influenced the findings
Relates to the ‘trustworthiness’ by which the methods have been undertaken and is dependent on the researcher maintaining a ‘decision-trail’; that is, the researcher's decisions are clear and transparent. Ultimately an independent researcher should be able to arrive at similar or comparable findings.
Neutrality (or confirmability)
Achieved when truth value, consistency and applicability have been addressed. Centres on acknowledging the complexity of prolonged engagement with participants and that the methods undertaken and findings are intrinsically linked to the researchers’ philosophical position, experiences and perspectives. These should be accounted for and differentiated from participants’ accounts
The transferability of the findings to other settings and applicability in other contexts
Consideration is given to whether findings can be applied to other contexts, settings or groups