A Thematic Comparison of Eight Frameworks of Quality Criteria in Qualitative Health Research


  • Sarah Lilian Stephen
  • Christine Bruchez
  • Marie Santiago-Delefosse


Background: Despite the increasing incidences of the publication of assessment frameworks intending to establish the "standards" of the quality of qualitative research, the research conducted using such empirical methods are still facing difficulties in being published or recognised by funding agencies. Methods: We conducted a thematic content analysis of eight frameworks from psychology/psychiatry and general medicine. The frameworks and their criteria are then compared against each other. Findings: The results illustrated the difficulties in reaching consensus on the definition of quality criteria. This showed the differences between the frameworks from the point of views of the underlying epistemology and the criteria suggested. Discussion: The aforementioned differences reflect the diversity of paradigms implicitly referred to by the authors of the frameworks, although rarely explicitly mentioned in text. We conclude that the increase in qualitative research and publications has failed to overcome the difficulties in establishing shared criteria and the great heterogeneity of concepts raises methodological and epistemological problems.






Oral presentations