Generic Qualitative Approaches: Pitfalls and Benefits of Methodological Mixology

Renate Kahlke


Generic qualitative research studies are those that refuse to claim allegiance to a single established methodology. There has been significant debate in the qualitative literature regarding the extent to which rigour can be preserved outside of the guidelines of an established methodology. This article offers a starting place for researchers interested in entering the literature on generic qualitative approaches and offers some guidance to help researchers appreciate the advantages of using a generic approach and navigate the potential pitfalls. Given that generic approaches are, by definition, less defined and established, this article begins by defining generic qualitative approaches, including the descriptive qualitative approach and interpretive description subcategories. It then outlines key critiques of generic studies present in the literature, describes the benefits of generic approaches, and suggests ways in which the issues raised in critiques might be mediated.

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