Data Use, Technology, and Educational Leadership

the audit trail – a common omission from methods chapters

Excellent thoughts on what an audit trail does to improve the trustworthiness (i.e. reliability and validity) of qualitative research.


It’s really important to put an ‘audit trail’ into your methods chapter. Audit trail? Well, it doesn’t actually matter what you call it, it’s the section in the chapter where you give the examiner the nuts and bolts information about what you’ve done.

Providing an audit trail doesn’t mean you can ignore your philosophical stance and your choice of methodology. Of course you still have to write about this. But I see a lot of – read this as I see far too many – theses where that’s all people have done. There are pages and pages about epistemology and methodology and methods and nothing about what’s actually happened.

I can’t tell you exactly the number of ethnographies I’ve read – but it’s a lot – where I don’t know how many days the researcher has spent in the site, what they’ve looked at and what they were looking for…

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This entry was posted on August 14, 2014 by .