Validity, responsibility, and aporia

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50 Scopus citations


In this article, the author problematizes external, objectified, oversimplified, and mechanical approaches to validity in qualitative research, which endorse simplistic and reductionist views of knowledge and data. Instead of promoting one generalizable definition or operational criteria for validity, the author's "deconstructive validity work" addresses how validity can be framed in the context of researchers' responsibility and decision making during the research process. More specifically, the author utilizes the concept of aporia to discuss researchers' responsibilities in the face of impossible decisions when aiming for "valid" and trustworthy qualitative research practices. The author argues that qualitative researchers should reconsider the promotion of validity or validation practices that disable researchers' responsibility. Alternatively, it could be illuminative to ask how impossible validity and ongoing puzzlement associated with the quality of qualitative research could influence current research practices and reporting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)603-610
Number of pages8
JournalQualitative Inquiry
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • aporia
  • qualitative research
  • responsibility
  • validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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