Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

The Application of Interrater Reliability as a Solidification Instrument in a Phenomenological Study

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

The Application of Interrater Reliability as a Solidification Instrument in a Phenomenological Study

Article excerpt

Interrater reliability has thus far not been a common application in phenomenological studies. However, once the suggestion was brought up by a team of supervising professors during the preliminary orals of a phenomenological study, the utilization of this verification tool turned out to be vital to the credibility level of this type of inquiry, where the researcher is perceived as the main instrument and where bias may, hence, be difficult to eliminate. With creativeness and the appropriate calculation approach the researcher of the here reviewed qualitative study managed to apply this verification tool and found that the establishment of interrater reliability served as a great solidification to the research findings. Key Words: Phenomenology, Interrater Reliability, Applicability, Bias Reduction, Qualitative Study, Research Findings, and Study Solidification

Introduction

This paper intends to serve as support for the assertion that interrater reliability should not merely be limited to being a verification tool for quantitative research, but that it should be applied as a solidification strategy in qualitative analysis as well. This should be applied particularly in a phenomenological study, where the researcher is considered the main instrument and where, for that reason, the elimination of bias may be more difficult than in other study types.

A "verification tool," as interrater reliability is often referred to in quantitative studies, is generally perceived as a means of verifying coherence in the understanding of a certain topic, while the term "solidification strategy," as referred to in this case of a qualitative study, reaches even further: Not just as a means of verifying coherence in understanding, but at the same time a method of strengthening the findings of the entire qualitative study. The following provides clarification of the distinction in using interrater reliability as a verification tool in quantitative studies versus using this test as a solidification tool in qualitative studies. Quantitative studies, which are traditionally regarded as more scientifically based than qualitative studies, mainly apply interrater reliability as a percentage-based agreement in findings that are usually fairly straightforward in their interpretability. The interraters in a quantitative study are not necessarily required to engage deeply into the material in order to obtain an understanding of the study's findings for rating purposes. The findings are usually obvious and require a brief review from the interraters in order to state their interpretations. The entire process can be a very concise and insignificant one, easily understandable among the interraters, due to the predominantly numerical-based nature of the quantitative findings.

However, in a qualitative study the findings are usually not represented in plain numbers. This type of study is regarded as less scientific and its findings are perceived in a more imponderable light. Applying interrater reliability in such a study requires the interraters to engage in attentive reading of the material, which then needs to be interpreted, while at the same time the interraters are expected to display a similar or basic understanding of the topic. The use of interrater reliability in these studies as more than just a verification tool because qualitative studies are thus far not unanimously considered scientifically sophisticated. It is seen more as a solidification tool--that can contribute to the quality of these types of studies and the level of seriousness with which they will be considered in the future. As explained earlier, the researcher is usually considered the instrument in a qualitative study. By using interrater reliability as a solidification tool, the interraters could become true validators of the findings of the qualitative study, thereby elevating the level of believability and generalizability of the outcomes of this type of study. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.