Reconsidering Evaluation Criteria for Scientific Adequacy in Health Care Research: An Integrative Framework of Quantitative and Qualitative Criteria

  • Hiroaki Miyata The University of Tokyo
  • Ichiro Kai The University of Tokyo


It is important to reconsider evaluation criteria regarding scientific adequacy in health care research. In this article the authors review the four pairs of quantitative/qualitative paradigms. They discuss the use of evaluation criteria based on a pragmatic perspective after examining the epistemological issues behind the criteria. Validity/credibility is concerned with research framework, whereas reliability/dependability refers to the range of stability in observations, objectivity/ confirmability reflects influences between observers and subjects, and generalizability/transferability has epistemological differences in the way findings are applied. Qualitative studies should not always choose qualitative paradigms, and vice versa. If stability can be assumed to some extent in a qualitative study, it is better to use a quantitative paradigm. Regardless of whether it is quantitative or qualitative research, it is important to recognize the four epistemological axes.