Judgment criteria in a PhD

Positivist Perspective of Validity

Drawing from the discussion on the previous page regards reflexivity, and given the socially constructed nature of my research, is based on people’s subjectivities (following an interpretivist paradigm), my work cannot be judged according to a positivist perspective of validity.

Instead, I propose an alternative set of judgment criteria. In particular, the criteria by which I seek this research to be judged are:

  • Coherence
  • and verisimilitude


I referred to the former in the above section, when talking about internal coherence, building an audit trail for my research and using a non-positivist triangulation.

Indeed, Lieblich et al. (1998, p. 173) define coherence in qualitative research as ‘the way in which different parts of the interpretation create a complete and meaningful picture’.

Hence, by integrating the data from different sources, I intend to create such a picture.


The second criterion is verisimilitude, meaning similar to the truth.

As an interpretive researcher cannot pretend to be searching an absolute ‘Truth’, I have constructed something which is verisimilar, based on the shared discourse of Raqs sharqi practitioners.

Schwandt (1997, p. 170) posits that verisimilitude deals with the quality of the text, and one of the ways in which he defines it is ‘the relationship of a particular text to some agreed-on opinions or standards of a particular interpretive community’.

The criteria of coherence and verisimilitude are connected with my chosen method of data presentation, which is, as mentioned in 4.6.4, a modified realist tale.

A tale, that is, in which the voice of the author can be heard but that attempts to build a coherent and verisimilar story.

Chapter Summary

This chapter focused on the research process. It clarified the researcher’s ontological and epistemological position, which led to an interpretive paradigm and a qualitative methodology.

It was then covered how, starting from the research questions, the research methods were chosen, how sampling took place, how research methods were employed and what practical and ethical considerations were raised.

The analysis process was covered, from issues specific to each research method, to how the whole set of data was coded and themes created.

Finally, the position of the researcher as a reflexive presence in the research was made clear and issues of validity and reliability addressed.

The next chapter is the first section of the results and it consists of the analysis of Raqs sharqi.

The dance analysis will be followed by a further discussion chapter around a set of key themes emerged from the literature and the data.

Next Page >> Introduction to the analysis of Egyptian Raqs Sharqi as Living Dance/Heritage.