Qualitative quality: Eight a"big-tent" criteria for excellent qualitative research

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3006 Scopus citations


This article presents a model for quality in qualitative research that is uniquely expansive, yet flexible, in that it makes distinctions among qualitative research's means (methods and practices) and its ends. The article first provides a contextualization and rationale for the conceptualization. Then the author presents and explores eight key markers of quality in qualitative research including (a) worthy topic, (b) rich rigor, (c) sincerity, (d) credibility, (e) resonance, (f) significant contribution, (g) ethics, and (h) meaningful coherence. This eight-point conceptualization offers a useful pedagogical model and provides a common language of qualitative best practices that can be recognized as integral by a variety of audiences. While making a case for these markers of quality, the article leaves space for dialogue, imagination, growth, and improvisation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)837-851
Number of pages15
JournalQualitative Inquiry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • credibility
  • criteria
  • ethics
  • evaluation
  • qualitative pedagogy
  • rigor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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