ERIC Number: ED212039
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Aug-19
Reference Count: 0
Methodological Rigor in Naturalistic Inquiry: Some Issues and Answers.
Owens, Robert G.
Three issues must be addressed when discussing the standards needed to judge the methodological rigor of naturalistic approaches to administrative research. The first issue involves defining naturalistic inquiry. In contrast to the scientific paradigm, naturalistic inquiry emphasizes, first, the inseparability of variables or events from their contexts and, second, the subjects' intellectual frameworks and the need to develop "thick descriptions" of the world as the subjects experience it. The second issue concerns the criteria for judging the adequacy of naturalistic inquiry; the criteria should be appropriate to the characteristics of naturalistic research and the procedures for enhancing its credibility. Naturalistic research includes simultaneous collection and analysis of data using multiple methods and an "audit trail" to allow replication of the study. Credibility is enhanced by prolonged data collection on site, checking of information through multiple sources, collection of referential materials about findings and interpretations, peer consultation, and thick description. The third methodological issue concerns the final report. Naturalistic reports should use ordinary language and be trustworthy, well organized, and ethical, but above all they should use thick description to "take the reader there." (Author/RW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Naturalistic Research; Thick Description Method
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Conference of Professors of Educational Administration 35th, Seattle, WA, August 16-21, 1981).