Academic Exchange Quarterly Fall 2003 ISSN 1096-1453 Volume 7, Issue 3
Peer Debriefing: Who, What, When, Why, How
Marydee A. Spillett, University of New Orleans, LA
The research methods literature recommends peer debriefing as a process to enhance the credibility of qualitative research. However, few details about how to plan, implement, and report this process are provided. This article delineates specific issues to consider: whom to select, what to do, when to meet, how to conduct, and how to report the process. Students may use these guidelines to assist in designing, executing and evaluating qualitative research studies. Incorporating these considerations may result in more effective implementation of peer debriefing methods and more credible reports of qualitative research. The purpose of this article is to discuss peer debriefing in qualitative research–why it is important, who should do it, how to conduct it, and how to report it. Research methods texts advocate peer debriefing as a process to enhance the credibility or validity of qualitative research (Creswell, 1998; Ely, Anzul, Friedman, Garner, & Steinmetz, 1991; Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Maxwell, 1996; Merriam, 1998). Despite widespread recommendation of this technique, the methodological literature provides few specific details about how to implement and evaluate this process. This article provides a set of decision-making considerations for researchers who are designing and conducting peer debriefing methods. While this paper is directed primarily to doctoral students conducting qualitative research studies, this article may also be of interest to faculty who teach research methods and to experienced researchers.