Interpretation in qualitative research: What, why, how

Allen Trent, Jeasik Cho

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This chapter addresses a wide range of concepts related to interpretation in qualitative research, examines the meaning and importance of interpretation in qualitative inquiry, and explores the ways methodology, data, and the self/researcher as instrument interact and impact interpretive processes. Additionally, the chapter presents a series of strategies for qualitative researchers engaged in the process of interpretation and closes by presenting a framework for qualitative researchers designed to inform their interpretations. The framework includes attention to the key qualitative research concepts transparency, reflexivity, analysis, validity, evidence, and literature. Four questions frame the chapter: What is interpretation, and why are interpretive strategies important in qualitative research? How do methodology, data, and the researcher/self impact interpretation in qualitative research? How do qualitative researchers engage in the process of interpretation? And, in what ways can a framework for interpretation strategies support qualitative researchers across multiple methodologies and paradigms?.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9780190847388
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Coding
  • Criticism
  • Data analysis
  • Hermeneutics
  • Interpretation
  • Methodology
  • Qualitative research
  • Research methods
  • Theory
  • Validity


Dive into the research topics of 'Interpretation in qualitative research: What, why, how'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this