From NIH Criteria:

Are the investigators appropriately trained and well suited to carry out this work?  Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level of the principal investigator and other researchers?  Does the investigative team bring complementary and integrated expertise to the project (if applicable)?

It is important to realize that these methods [qualitative methods], probably to a greater degree than quantitative approaches, are highly dependent on the knowledge and skills of all members of the research team (Sofaer, 2002, p. 333).

Those reviewing a qualitative grant should look for evidence of:

  • A capable team - this is a team that has adequate experience doing qualitative research and adequate time allotted to do the research
  • Skill 
    • ability and productivity using the proposed method
    • ability to use a variety of methods
    • co-investigators should have complementary skills
  • Adequate training for research staff, particularly those collecting data
    • How will research staff be trained
    • Who will do the training?  Are they experienced?
    • Are there hands-on opportunities built into the training process, such that staff can try a new skill, get feedback and try it again before going into the field?
  • A research team comprised of 'insiders' and 'outsiders' 
    • 'insiders' - for example clinicians - might have better access to a site and have credibility
    • 'outsiders' - those unaffiliated with clinical practice - and who aren't members of the culture or sub-culture are better positioned to see hidden assumptions and identify implicit or tacit knowledge
  • A multidisciplinary team - such a team will have the ability to look at the research question and the data from a variety of useful and different perspectives.  Such a team should balance insider/outsider strengths and weaknesses.  A good multidisciplinary team can foster innovative thinking.

The evaluator should look at the research team as a whole to identify strengths and knowledge gaps for addressing the research question proposed in the grant.  Have consultants been identified to fill any apparent knowledge gaps?  The answer to this question should be 'yes.'

There should be strong evidence of the research team members' and consultants' willingness to participate in this project

There should be a clear and feasible plan for how the research team and its consultants will work together, knowing that the tasks involved in doing a qualitative research study can be time consuming 

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Reference for quote:

From Sofaer, S. (2002). "Qualitative Research Methods." International Journal for Quality in Health Care 14(4), 329-336.