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Qualitative Research Resources

Find sources of qualitative training & support at UNC. How to search for and evaluate qualitative research, integrate qualitative research into systematic reviews, report/publish qualitative research. Includes some Mixed Methods resources.

About this Page

Why is this information important?

  • Qualitative research typically focuses on collecting very detailed information on a few cases and often addresses meaning, rather than objectively identifiable factors.
  • This means that typical markers of research quality for quantitative studies, such as validity and reliability, cannot be used to assess qualitative research.

On this page you'll find:

The resources on this page will guide you to some of the alternative measures/tools you can use to assess qualitative research.

LEGEND (Let Evidence Guide Every New Decision) Assessment Tools: Cincinnati Children's Hospital

Evidence Evaluation Tools and Resources

This website has a number of resources for evaluating health sciences research, including an Evidence Appraisal form for qualitative research, as well as information on the following:

EQUATOR Network: Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research

The EQUATOR Network is an ‘umbrella’ organisation that brings together researchers, medical journal editors, peer reviewers, developers of reporting guidelines, research funding bodies and other collaborators with mutual interest in improving the quality of research publications and of research itself. 

The EQUATOR Library contains a comprehensive searchable database of reporting guidelines for many study types--including qualitative--and also links to other resources relevant to research reporting:

  • Library for health research reporting:  provides an up-to-date collection of guidelines and policy documents related to health research reporting. These are aimed mainly at authors of research articles, journal editors, peer reviewers and reporting guideline developers.
  • Toolkits to support writing research, using guidelines, teaching research skills, selecting the appropriate reporting guideline
  • Courses and events
  • News
  • Blog
  • Librarian Network

Other Tools for Assessing Qualitative Research


Clissett, P. (2008) "Evaluating Qualitative Research." Journal of Orthopaedic Nursing 12: 99-105.

Cohen, Deborah J. and Benjamin F. Crabtree. (2008) "Evidence for Qualitative Research in Health Care: Controversies and Recommendations." Annals of Family Medicine 6(4): 331-339.

Dixon-Woods, M.,  R.L. Shaw, S. Agarwal, and J.A. Smith. (2004) "The Problem of Appraising Qualitative Research." Qual Safe Health Care 13: 223-225.

Fossey, E., C. Harvey, F. McDermott, and L. Davidson. (2002) "Understanding and Evaluating Qualitative Research." Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 36(6): 717-732.

Hammarberg, K., M. Kirkman, S. de Lacey. (2016) "Qualitative Research Methods: When to Use and How to Judge them." Human Reproduction 31 (3): 498-501.

Joanna Briggs Institute. Joanna Briggs Institute Reviewers' Manual 2014, Section 2.

Lee, J. (2014) "Genre-Appropriate Judgments of Qualitative Research." Philosophy of the Social Sciences 44(3): 316-348. (This provides 3 strategies for evaluating qualitative research, 2 that the author is not crazy about and one that he considers more appropriate/accurate).

Meyrick, Jane. (2006) "What is Good Qualitative Research? A First Step towards a Comprehensive Approach to Judging Rigour/Quality." Journal of Health Psychology 11(5): 799-808.

Miles, MB, AM Huberman, J Saldana. (2014) Qualitative Data Analysis. Thousand Oaks, Califorinia, SAGE Publications, Inc. Chapter 11: Drawing and Verifying Conclusions. Check Availability of Print Book

Morse, JM. (1997) "Perfectly Healthy but Dead:"The Myth of Inter-Rater Reliability. Qualitative Health Research 7(4): 445-447.  

Ryan, Frances, Michael Coughlin, and Patricia Cronin. (2007) "Step by Step Guide to Critiquing Research: Part 2, Qualitative Research." British Journal of Nursing 16(12): 738-744. 

Stige, B, K. Malterud, and T. Midtgarden. (2009) "Toward an Agenda for Evaluation of Qualitative Research." Qualitative Health Research 19(10): 1504-1516.

Tong, Allison and Mary Amanda Dew. (2016-EPub ahead of print). "Qualitative Research in Transplantation: Ensuring Relevance and Rigor." Transplantation 

Tracy, Sarah (2010) “Qualitative Quality: Eight ‘Big-Tent’ Criteria for Excellent Qualitative Research.” Qualitative Inquiry 16(10):837-51

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