Teaching the Scope and Limits of Generalizability in Qualitative Research

  • Ganesh N. Prabhu


A major criticism of qualitative research is the scope of generalizability of research results. Qualitative researchers are tentative in claiming generalizability and often underclaim the generalizability of significant results. Unwillingness to generalize beyond the study and the criticism of generalizations made, if any, makes qualitative research seem limited in scope. Also, qualitative research themes are often seen as driven by researcher’s interest than by their intrinsic salience. The wider scope of applicability claimed by large sample quantitative research is missed in qualitative research proposals. This has negative implications for the research funding of pioneering qualitative research work.