Rival Interpretations

Rival interpretations, a term often used in qualitative inquiry, include disconfirming cases, “exceptions that prove the rule,” and competing explanations. These are interpretations or explanations of a case that challenge the findings of its analysis. Once an evaluator has described a case and its patterns, themes, and plausible explanations, it is important to look for other possible ways to explain the findings and the meaning of those findings. This means looking for other ways of organizing the case and the data toward new interpretations or digging for plausible counterinterpretations and the data to support them.

Leslie K.Goodyear
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