Patton's Evaluative Criteria

Patton recognizes that "issues of quality and credibility intersect with audience and intended research purposes" (1999, p. 1189).  His criteria of good research include:

Credibility of the research

  • The researcher should use rigorous techniques and methods for gathering high quality data
  • Data should be carefully analyzed, with attention to issues of reliability, validity and triangulation
  • Credibility of the researchers (training and experience, track record, status and presentation of self)
  • Analysis should be creative, yet methodical
  • Sufficient detail should be reported to allow others to judge the quality of the resulting product (audit trail)

Some techniques for achieving credibility include:

  • Clear delineation of the purpose and limitations of sample studied
  • Care with regard to extrapolation of findings to other situations, times, settings, people, etc.


Patton, MQ. (1999). "Enhancing the quality and credibility of qualitative analysis." HSR: Health Services Research. 34 (5) Part II. pp. 1189-1208.

Patton, MQ. (2001). Qualitative Research and EvaluationMethods (2nd Edition). Thousand oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

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