Elder and Miller's Evaluative Criteria

Elder and Miller's (199) criteria for rigorous qualitative research include:

  • What is the research question?  Is it practical and important?  The question should be clearly stated.
  • What type of study design is best for addressing a particular research question? 
  • What are the specifics of the study design?
    • Who are the participants and how are they chosen?
    • How are the data collected?
    • How are the data analyzed?
  • Sampling approach should be adequately defined and appropriate for addressing research question.
  • The data collection method should be described in detail and a rationale for method choices provided (audit trail).
  • The data analysis process should be described in detail and include specifically steps to examine negative or deviant cases and describe how these cases inform the analysis.
  • Is the study trustworthy - is the study interpretation valid relative to its intent?
  • Is the study believable - does the story of the report make sense?  Evaluating this feature has a great deal to do with the rhetorical quality of a report.
  • Does the study make a contribution? 


Elder, NC. & Miller, WL. (1995). "Reading and evaluating qualitative research studies."  The Journal of Family Practice. 41(3), pp. 279-285.

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