Lincoln and Guba's Evaluative Criteria

Lincoln and Guba posit that trustworthiness of a research study is important to evaluating its worth.  Trustworthiness involves establishing:

  • Credibility - confidence in the 'truth' of the findings
  • Transferability - showing that the findings have applicablity in other contexts
  • Dependability - showing that the findings are consistent and could be repeated
  • Confirmability - a degree of neutraility or the extent to which the findings of a study are shaped by the respondents and not researcher bias, motivation, or interest.

Lincoln and Guba describe a series of techniques that can be used to conduct qualitative research that achieves the criteria they outline. 

Techniques for establishing credibility

Techniques for establishing transferability

Techniques for establishing dependability

Techniques for establishing confirmability


Lincoln, YS. & Guba, EG. (1985). Naturalistic Inquiry. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

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