'Clear as Mud': Toward Greater Clarity in Generic Qualitative Research

  • Kate Caelli University of Alberta
  • Lynne Ray University of Alberta
  • Judy Mill University of Alberta


We have observed a growth in the number of qualitative studies that have no guiding set of philosophic assumptions in the form of one of the established qualitative methodologies. This lack of allegiance to an established qualitative approach presents many challenges for "generic qualitative" studies, one of which is that the literature lacks debate about how to do a generic study well. We encourage such debate and offer four basic requirements as a point of departure: noting the researchers’ position, distinguishing method and methodology, making explicit the approach to rigor, and identifying the researchers’ analytic lens.