Redefining Qualitative Methods: Believability in the Fifth Moment

  • John Allen Lewis Indiana University of Pennsylvania


In this article the author addresses the history of reliability and validity in qualitative research as this method of inquiry has progressed through various paradigms. The importance of the concepts of reliability and validity in research findings is traced from the traditional era, where there was only a modest distinction between qualitative and quantitative researchers involving their definitions of research reliability and validity, through the current era, where some researchers question the need to be restricted in their research by attempting to control for or account for the reliability and validity of their research findings. The author rejects a strict need for reliability and validity as traditionally defined in quantitative research and outlines a less restrictive approach to ensuring reliability and validity in qualitative research.

Author Biography

John Allen Lewis, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
John A. Lewis is an Assistant Professor of Criminology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He has a Ph.D. and master’s degree in criminology, and a bachelor’s degree in adult education. His research interests are in policing, juvenile alcohol use, and correctional education, with some of his recent publications having appeared in Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Journal of Correctional Education, and Criminal Justice Studies.