Are There Assessment Criteria for Qualitative Findings? A Challenge Facing Mixed Methods Research


  • Martyn Hammersley The Open University



assessment criteria, validity, qualitative data, mixed methods research, synthesis of findings


If findings from qualitative and quantitative components in mixed methods research are to be synthesised, the quality of each must be assessed. But an obvious problem is that there are no generally agreed criteria for assessing qualitative findings. The question of criteria has long been debated in the methodological literature. I argue that some important distinctions need to be made if progress is to be achieved on this issue. Perhaps the most important one is between the standards in terms of which assessment is carried out and the indicators used to evaluate findings in relation to those standards. I go on to outline what I believe is involved in such evaluations, rejecting the possibility of a detailed and explicit set of indicators that can immediately be used to determine the validity of knowledge claims. My approach broadly fits the framework of mixed methods research, since I deny that there is any fundamental philosophical difference between quantitative and qualitative methods. But it is at odds with widespread views, even within the realm of mixed methods, whose advocates seek radically to redefine the ontological, epistemological, and/or axiological assumptions of social scientific research, for example in the name of a transformative approach.


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Author Biography

Martyn Hammersley, The Open University

Martyn HAMMERSLEY is emeritus professor of educational and social research at The Open University, UK. He has carried out research in the sociology of education and the sociology of the media, but much of his work has been dedicated to the methodological issues surrounding social enquiry. His books include (with Paul ATKINSON) "Ethnography: Principles in Practice" (4th ed., Routledge, 2019), "The Politics of Social Research" Sage, 1995), "Taking Sides in Social Research" (Routledge, 2000), "Questioning Qualitative Inquiry" Sage, 2008), Methodology Who Needs It?" (Sage, 2011), "The Myth of Research-Based Policy and Practice" (Sage, 2013), "The Radicalism of Ethnomethodology" (Manchester University Press, 2018), "The Concept of Culture" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), and "Troubling Sociological Concepts" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). In FQS, he published "A Historical and Comparative Note on the Relationship Between Analytic Induction and Grounded Theorising" (, 2010) and "Understanding a Dispute About Ethnomethodology: Watson and Sharrock's Response to Atkinson's 'Critical Review'" ( 2019).


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How to Cite

Hammersley, M. (2023). Are There Assessment Criteria for Qualitative Findings? A Challenge Facing Mixed Methods Research. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 24(1).



Methodological, Philosophical and Sociology of Science Perspectives