Process and Outcomes of a Recursive, Dialogic Member Checking Approach: A Project Ethnography

Michelle Brear

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


There is limited empirical evidence about member checking, a long-standing qualitative research technique for establishing validity. I conducted directed content analysis of ethnographic data detailing the process and outcomes of a “dialogic” member checking approach I implemented in rural Swaziland. It involved 10 participants, checking results about their participation and empowerment as co-researchers in participatory health research. The process involved participants in four recurring stages: thinking independently, hearing findings, appraising findings, and negotiating final representations. It increased the transferability and accuracy (“transactional” validity) of the results by adding richly descriptive data and establishing the extent of participant agreement with my findings. It had emancipatory outcomes (“transformational” validity) including developing critical understandings, influencing the research trajectory to “give voice” to participants, and establishing more equitable researcher-researched relationships. Further development, implementation, and appraisal of recursive, dialogic approaches can advance member checking as a technique for enhancing “holistic” validity in qualitative health research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)944-957
Number of pages14
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • community and public health
  • empowerment
  • methodology
  • power
  • project ethnography
  • qualitative
  • reflexivity
  • research design
  • social participation
  • Swaziland

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