Rigour in qualitative case-study research
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Rigour in qualitative case-study research

Catherine Houghton Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies, National University of Ireland, Galway
Dympna Casey Senior lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies, National University of Ireland, Galway
David Shaw Lecturer, Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
Kathy Murphy Head of school, School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies, National University of Ireland, Galway

Aim To provide examples of a qualitative multiple case study to illustrate the specific strategies that can be used to ensure the credibility, dependability, confirmability and transferability of a study.

Background There is increasing recognition of the valuable contribution qualitative research can make to nursing knowledge. However, it is important that the research is conducted in a rigorous manner and that this is demonstrated in the final research report.

Data sources A multiple case study that explored the role of the clinical skills laboratory in preparing students for the real world of practice. Multiple sources of evidence were collected: semi-structured interviews (n = 58), non-participant observations at five sites and documentary sources.

Discussion Strategies to ensure the rigour of this research were prolonged engagement and persistent observation, triangulation, peer debriefing, member checking, audit trail, reflexivity, and thick descriptions. Practical examples of how these strategies can be implemented are provided to guide researchers interested in conducting rigorous case study research.

Conclusion While the flexible nature of qualitative research should be embraced, strategies to ensure rigour must be in place.

Nurse Researcher. 20, 4, 12-17. doi: 10.7748/nr2013.

Conflict of interest

None declared

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Received: 02 May 2012

Accepted: 18 September 2012

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