Positivist Terms fixed alternative question A question that offers respondents a set of
prespecified responses, from which the respondent must choose the alternative that
most closely approximates the correct response.
categorical variable A variable with discrete values (e.g., gender) rather than values
along a continuum (e.g., weight).
discrete variable A variable with a finite number of values between two points.
(positivist ) deductive reasoning The process of developing specific predictions from general
positivist paradigm The traditional paradigm
underlying the scientific approach,
which assumes that there is a fixed, orderly
reality that can be objectively studied; often
associated with quantitative research.
(naturalistic ) inductive reasoning The process of reasoning
from specific observations to more general
rules (see also deductive reasoning).
qualitative research The investigation of
phenomena, typically in an indepth and
holistic fashion, through the collection of
rich narrative materials using a flexible
(qualitative term ) construct An abstraction or concept that is
deliberately invented (constructed) by
researchers for a scientific purpose (e.g.,
health locus of control).
(qualitative term ) reliability The degree of consistency or
dependability with which an instrument
measures the attribute it is designed to
(qualitative term ) validity The degree to which an instrument
measures what it is intended to measure. informant A term used to refer to those individuals
who provide information to
researchers about a phenomenon under
study (usually in qualitative studies).
paradigm A way of looking at natural phenomena
that encompasses a set of philosophical
assumptions and that guides one’s
approach to inquiry.
trustworthiness The degree of confidence
qualitative researchers have in their data,
assessed using the criteria of credibility,
transferability, dependability, and confirmability.
credibility A criterion for evaluating data
quality in qualitative studies, referring to
confidence in the truth of the data.
transferability The extent to which findings
can be transferred to other settings or
groups—often used in qualitative research
and analogous to generalizability in quantitative
dependability A criterion for evaluating da