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Empirical verification of the “TACT” framework for teaching rigour in qualitative research methodology

Ben Kei Daniel (Higher Education Development Centre, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand)

Qualitative Research Journal

ISSN: 1443-9883

Article publication date: 28 March 2018

Issue publication date: 25 July 2018

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a framework intended to guide students and novice researchers in learning about the necessary dimensions for assessing the rigour of qualitative research studies. The framework has four dimensions – (T)rustworthiness, (A)uditability, (C)redibility and (T)ransferability. The development of TACT is informed by various discourses of rigour in the qualitative research methods literature. Results of an empirical verification of TACT suggests that postgraduate students and faculty learning qualitative research found the framework useful for learning rigour in qualitative research methods. TACT also serves as an important theoretical tool for setting directions for further discourses on teaching and learning critical aspects of rigour in qualitative research methodology.

Design/methodology/approach

The formal verification of the TACT started with a development of a rating tool. The tool consisted of a total of 16 items, 4 items per each dimension. The items were ranked on five-scale Likert points (1=very important, 2=important, 3=neutral, 4=less important, 5=not important). The instrument was piloted and tested for reliability revealing an overall Cronbach’s α (α=0.86), which indicates a good level of internal consistency (George and Mallery, 2003) among the dimensions. The tool was put online and sent out to participants enroled in workshops on “assessing rigour in qualitative research studies”.

Findings

Overall, participants found TACT to be a useful framework for learning different dimensions for assessing qualitative research. They saw various benefits associated with the use of the framework including providing a better process for undertaking and reporting outcomes of qualitative research and for exploring different dimensions of rigour. Participants also indicated that using TACT facilitates reflexivity and fosters dependability of research outcomes. They stated that TACT could help researchers think about their personal relationship with a phenomenon being studied as well as the quality of data collected. Others said that TACT allows researchers to think about achieving transference and gaining confidence in the research findings.

Research limitations/implications

TACT is best suited as a teaching toolkit in qualitative research methodology courses. It is also useful as a platform for fostering a shared language in undertaking peer-review of methodological dimensions of qualitative research studies.

Practical implications

Though a general framework for accessing rigour in qualitative research studies is highly desirable, the usefulness of TACT in rendering rigour is subject to a particular academic tradition.

Social implications

TACT facilitates the exploration of different dimensions for assessing the outcome of qualitative research.

Originality/value

TACT is a general framework drawn from the literature and teaching practice and empirically validated.

Keywords

Citation

Daniel, B.K. (2018), "Empirical verification of the “TACT” framework for teaching rigour in qualitative research methodology", Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. 18 No. 3, pp. 262-275. https://doi.org/10.1108/QRJ-D-17-00012

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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