It is the responsibility of the investigator to justify to the community and their peers that they have completed due diligence by maintaining integrity of the data, establish balance between neutrality and subjectivity, and communicate clear interpretations of findings (Williams & Morrow, 2009). Common criteria used to assess trustworthiness include: credibility, confirmability, dependability, transferability, and authenticity (Cope, 2014; Krefting, 1991). Wittich and Southall (2008) were able to enhance trustworthiness by using dependability strategies – peer examination and an audit trail (Krefting, 1991; Cutcliffe & McKenna, 1999; Graneheim & Lundman, 2004). The researchers enlisted another researcher from a differing field of study to code a randomly selected segment of the participant’s journal (Wittich & Southall, 2008). Subsequently, these strategies indicated that the interrater reliability of the coding schema was adequate, with an accuracy score of 80%, thereby increasing the trustworthiness of the study in this particular aspect (Wittich & Southall, 2008).
Strength of Qualitative Evidence
For the purpose of this critical appraisal, the research findings in Wittich and Southall (2008) study were graded for strength using the “System for Grading the Strength of a Body of Evidence” (Table 1). The study was evaluated on rigor, credibility, and relevance of research findings that are best illustrated in Table 1. Overall, the study was determined to offer good, reliable evidence in regards to each category, with only minor concerns.