The significance of member validation in qualitative analysis: experiences from a longitudinal case study
Conference object, Peer reviewed
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Original versionProceedings of the 40th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences - 2007
This article explores the concept of member validation and its potential role in the process of constructing case descriptions and interpretations in qualitative research. Although generally approved as a required step in qualitative inquiry, the format, conduct, and purpose of this vary significantly according to different research perspectives. The paper discusses methodological and validity aspects of member validation, and illustrates these issues with experiences from member validation in a longitudinal, interpretive case study in an airline company. A definition of analytical abstraction as including three steps, referred to in the methodology literature as the "ladder of abstraction", is used as the basis for analyzing and discussing the nature of member validation in different stages of the case construction process. The paper provides two propositions: First, member validation may increase the validity of case studies, provided it is used systematically. The “ladder of abstraction” framework proved useful for conceptualizing this approach. Second, member validation plays distinctly different roles in constructing the case on the different levels of abstraction.