How we Ensured Rigor from a Multi-site, Multi-discipline, Multi-researcher Study

  • H. Ken Crawford Agricultural Western Australia
  • Marnie L. Leybourne Water & Rivers Commission
  • Allan Arnott

Abstract

Qualitative research has often been criticised for its lack of rigour. In order to overcome this, measures of trustworthiness, dependability and reliability have been suggested. A study of how pastoralists learn to incorporate sustainable farming systems in the tropical savannas of Australia employed multiple-researchers, working in three States and from a variety of disciplines. To ensure rigour a framework for the study was developed by the researchers prior to commencing interviews. This was followed by regular teleconferences to ensure that the framework was valid and to adjust for any problems encountered along the way. Every interview was analysed independently by all researchers before a workshop was conducted to bring the ideas together. Categories and ideas within the data were synthesised to create an overall understanding of the learning process within the confines of "landcare" in the Tropical Savannas. These processes were undertaken in consultation with the pastoralists and the process has been explicitly documented to enable readers to follow the research process easily. The rigour in this project is shown in the clear documentation of the research process carried out by individual researchers and by the team when it met. The understanding of pastoralists' learning processes is our interpretation; it is up to the reader to decide whether s/he agrees with that interpretation, but from the description of the process it is easy for the reader to see where and why her/his interpretation differs. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0001125

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Author Biographies

H. Ken Crawford, Agricultural Western Australia
Dr. Ken CRAWFORD is a Development Officer and Project Manager with Agricultural Western Australia, the State Government Agency dealing with agricultural and sustainable resource management issues. He has post-graduate qualifications in Farm management from Massey University, Palmerston North New Zealand and is undertaking PhD research into "How farmers learn" in the Western Australian broadacre production environment. He has undertaken research on agricultural issues in New Zealand and Australia.
Marnie L. Leybourne, Water & Rivers Commission
Dr. Marnie LEYBOURNE is a Senior Policy Officer with Water & Rivers Commission, a State Government Agency in Western Australia and deals with natural resource management issues. She has post-graduate qualifications in Development Studies from University Institute of Development Studies in Geneva and a PhD in Geography from Lyon University, France. She has undertaken research on agricultural and pastoral societies in Syria, Switzerland, New Zealand and Australia.
Allan Arnott
Dr. Allan ARNOTT is currently the Deputy Director for the Centre for Teaching and Learning in Diverse Educational Contexts, and works University. He spent several years in remote areas of the Northern Territory of Australia establishing and operating adult education services in both Aboriginal settings and in mining towns. Present research interests include professional development needs of remote area adult educators, modes of educational delivery in remote and rural Australia, and workplace learning.
Published
2000-01-31