Member checking: A tool to enhance trustworthiness or merely a nod to validation?

Linda Birt (Lead Author), Suzanne Scott, Debbie Cavers, Christine Campbell, Fiona Walter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1736 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


The trustworthiness of results is the bedrock of high-quality qualitative research. Member checking, also known as participant or respondent validation, is a technique for exploring the credibility of results. Data or results are returned to participants to check for accuracy and resonance with their experiences.
Member checking is often mentioned as one in a list of validation techniques. This simplistic reporting might not acknowledge the value of using the method, nor its juxtaposition with the interpretative stance of qualitative research. In this commentary we critique how member checking has been used in published research, before describing and evaluating an innovative in-depth member checking technique, Synthesised Member Checking. The method was used in a study with patients diagnosed with melanoma. Synthesised Member Checking addresses the co-constructed nature of knowledge by providing participants with the opportunity to engage with, and add to, interview and interpreted data, several months after their semi-structured interview.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1802-1811
Number of pages10
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number13
Early online date22 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016


  • member checking
  • trustworthiness
  • respondent validation
  • participant validation
  • melanoma
  • credibility
  • qualitative method
  • United Kingdom

Cite this