Generalization practices in qualitative research: A mixed methods case study

Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie, Nancy L. Leech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this mixed methods case study was to examine the generalization practices in qualitative research published in a reputable qualitative journal. In order to accomplish this, all qualitative research articles published in Qualitative Report since its inception in 1990 (n = 273) were examined. A quantitative analysis of the all 125 empirical qualitative research articles revealed that a significant proportion (i.e., 29.6%) of studies involved generalizations beyond the underlying sample that were made inappropriately by the author(s). A qualitative analysis identified the types of over-generalizations that occurred, which included making general recommendations for future practice and providing general policy implications based only on a few cases. Thus, a significant proportion of articles published in Qualitative Report lack what we call interpretive consistency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)881-892
Number of pages12
JournalQuality and Quantity
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Analytic generalization
  • Case study
  • Generalization
  • Interpretive consistency
  • Mixed methods
  • Qualitative research
  • Sample size
  • Sampling
  • Sequential mixed methods analysis
  • Statistical generalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • General Social Sciences


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