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Keywords:

  • experts;
  • validity;
  • qualitative research

Abstract

There are many researchers engaged in qualitative research who look to experts in this mode of inquiry to validate their findings. But can any outsider, even an “expert” in qualitative research, do this? Such an expert is unlikely to know the data as well or to be as fully immersed in the project as the researcher. There are different kinds of expertise that may be required for different phases and purposes of research, and to satisfy different epistemological and ethical concerns. Moreover, new modes of participatory research have complicated the role of expert and the idea of expertise. Researchers must be judicious in their claims to expert validation, and experts must move researchers away from a preoccupation with validation toward craftsmanship and accountability to diverse communities. © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Res Nurs Health 21: 467–471, 1998