Qualitative Research in Tourism: Ontologies, Epistemologies and Methodologies

By Jenny Phillimore; Lisa Goodson | Go to book overview

9

Trustworthiness in qualitative tourism research
Alain Decrop
Aims of the chapter
• To show the relevance of trustworthiness issues in qualitative tourism research.
• To position trustworthiness in the framework of paradigmatic stances in qualitative research.
• To describe the basic criteria of trustworthiness.
• To present practical techniques to achieve trustworthiness, with a few examples.
• To discuss triangulation as one of the most comprehensive techniques with which to achieve trustworthiness.

Introduction

In tourism research, sociologists and anthropologists have been turning to qualitative approaches for a long time. This is not the case for researchers working in other disciplines such as psychology, economics and marketing. Riley notes that 'the majority of tourism marketing research has relied on structured surveys and quantification' (1996:22). Walle further regrets that 'techniques which bear the imprints of logical positivism, statistical investigation, and the scientific method continue to dominate' (1997:525). The focus is on that which is general, average and representative in order to allow for statistical generalisation and prediction. Because this is not possible in qualitative research, the approach has been regarded as exploratory and largely unscientific. For many tourism researchers, qualitative research exists only to provide information for developing further quantitative research. The aim of this chapter is not to defend the prevalence of one approach over the other. Indeed, methodological eclecticism is desirable: research questions must direct the choice of appropriate methods and research designs rather than the other way round. However, there is a need to consider the issue of trustworthiness in qualitative research. Trustworthiness refers to scientific inquiry that is able to 'demonstrate truth value, provide the basis for applying it, and allow for

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