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Quality in Qualitative Evaluation: A framework for assessing research evidence


About this resource

Resource type:Research, reports and studies
Keywords:Research methodology
Author(s):Spencer, L.,Ritchie, J.,Lewis J., and Dillon, L.
Date published:August 2003

This document presents a framework for appraising the quality of qualitative evaluations. It was developed with particular reference to evaluations concerned with
the development and implementation of social policy, programmes and practice. The framework was devised as part of a programme of research conducted on behalf of the Cabinet Office.
The research on which the framework was built involved:
• a comprehensive review of the literature on qualitative research methods relating to standards in qualitative research;
• a review of qualitative research methods used in Government funded evaluation studies;
• a review of existing frameworks for assessing quality in qualitative research;
• exploratory interviews with a range of people who have an interest in quality assessment of qualitative research and/or policy-related evaluations. These included academics who have written about qualitative research from either a theoretical or empirical perspective; authors of existing frameworks; research practitioners; commissioners and funders; and policy-makers who have used qualitative research evidence in the development and evaluation of policies;
• a workshop, involving the above groups, to refine the framework initially developed;
• a trial application of the framework to a small number of studies.
All these strands of activity have heavily influenced the content of the framework and the premises that surround its operation.
A separate report on the study is available.1
The sections below describe the scope, application and coverage of the framework. Sections II and III provide important background information about the premises underpinning the framework and its intended usage. It is recommended that these sections are read by anyone using the framework
for the first time. Those familiar with this background can move directly to Section IV where the content of the framework
is presented.


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