Validity in qualitative health care research: an exploration of the impact of individual researcher perspectives within collaborative enquiry


Dr. P Lyne Centre for Nursing and Health Care Research, North East Wales Institute Plas Coch Wrexham Clwyd LL11 2AW Wales


The authors of the present paper are a team of workers undertaking an empirical study of the definitions of quality in nursing used by National Health Service managers and others At an early stage in that work, their concern to enhance the validity of the findings led them to participate in the exercise reported in this paper Their purpose was to answer the question ‘what is the effect of the researcher's perspective on the interpretation of the analysis of interview data?’ This paper reports an exploration of the problem of validity in qualitative enquiry and a review of published strategies for analysing interview data It then outlines the strategy chosen by the team—the use of a framework which addresses validity in terms of adequacy of description The experience of using this framework is described and some empirical evidence of the way that individual perspectives influence the analysis is presented This gives rise to four principles which are considered to be of value in team working in qualitative enquiry, whether the team is a large one or consists of research student and supervisor alone The paper concludes with practical suggestions as to how these principles may be built in to the project planning cycle