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Objectivity in Qualitative Research
10 Dez
10. Dezember 2019

Objectivity in Qualitative Research

Qualitative researchers sometimes talk about objectivity in relation to qualitative data sets. In this talk, I defend an account of objective qualitative data sets that may serve as a useful guiding ideal in qualitative research.

In the first part of the paper, I briefly present the qualitative methods of participant observation and qualitative interviewing. Then, inspired by Alison Wylie’s account of an objective theory, I argue that a qualitative data set is objective to the extent that it, in conjunction with correct assumptions, possesses a combination of good-making features (epistemic virtues, epistemic values). These features include the data being descriptively adequate, reactivity transparent, deception transparent, and relevant, and the data set as a whole being balanced and sufficiently large. In virtue of having these features, I contend, a data set is suited to serve as evidence base for the final research report.

In the second part of the paper, I defend this account against two possible lines of objection. One is that there are problems with the suggested good-making features: my list of features is, in one way or another, in need of revision. The other line is that the very focus on these good-making features is misguided: in order to serve as a useful guiding ideal, the objectivity of qualitative data should instead be spelled out in terms of various practices to be adopted at the individual or community level.



Dr. Julie Zahle, Department of Philosophy, University of Bergen, Norweg


Institut für Philosophie


10. Dezember 2019
16:15 Uhr - 18:00 Uhr


Institut für Philosophie
Geb.: 1146
Raum: 1146.003.B313
Im Moore 21
30167 Hannover
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