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Generalization practices in qualitative research: a mixed methods case study

by Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie, Nancy L. Leech
Quality & Quantity ()


The purpose of this mixed methods case study was to examine the generaliza- tion practices in qualitative research published in a reputable qualitative journal. In order to accomplish this, all qualitative research articles published in Qualitative Report since its inception in 1990 (n = 273) were examined. A quantitative analysis of the all 125 empiri- cal qualitative research articles revealed that a significant proportion (i.e., 29.6%) of studies involved generalizations beyond the underlying sample that were made inappropriately by the author(s).Aqualitative analysis identified the types of over-generalizations that occurred, which included making general recommendations for future practice and providing general policy implications based only on a few cases. Thus, a significant proportion of articles published in Qualitative Report lack what we call interpretive consistency.

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