Generalisation: Learning Across Epistemologies
Any debate about the quality of research may be wise to include how the knowledge claims that result from that research are generalised. This paper is about the different conceptions of making knowledge claims general, making them applicable to more than one situation. The more general a knowledge claim, the more significant it becomes. A quality of qualitative research debate needs to identify and compare the different priorities each epistemology has regarding generalisation. After outlining these priorities for four overlapping epistemologies, scientific, systems thinking, argument, and interpretive, this paper will use the ironic view to argue that each epistemology might learn from the others so as to enrich their own priorities. Identification of difference may not only improve the quality of qualitative knowledge but may also provide the opportunity to creatively define what is meant by the quality of qualitative research.
generalising; epistemology; irony