Qualitative political science research can significantly increase its credibility if researchers take robust steps toward replicability and enhanced transparency. Making explicit decisions on planning and implementing research, together with commitment to comprehensive reporting, improves transparency. Three instruments serve to this objective: in the planning stage, research protocols map prospective actions in the implementation of research. In the implementing stage, research notebooks permit recording all decisions, deviations and events affecting research. Practical and ethical considerations may prevent the full disclosure of these research notebooks, and, hence, carefully drafted research implementation records provide, in the publication stage, a useful instrument to convey this information. Increased transparency (as created by the use of these three instruments) will lead to better options for replicability, and this, in turn, will increase the validity of qualitative research and dispel some of the concerns about its methodological soundness.
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I would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. Giovanni Agostinis, Roberta Perna and Felipe González de León provided generous observations on the draft. This paper originated in a conversation with Monika Sus on how to improve qualitative research. I thank her for prompting me to write this piece.
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Closa, C. Planning, implementing and reporting: increasing transparency, replicability and credibility in qualitative political science research. Eur Polit Sci (2021). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41304-020-00299-2
- Implementing research
- Planning research
- Reporting research
- Qualitative research