Good listening: A key element in establishing quality in qualitative research

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What is “good” qualitative research? Considerable literature articulates criteria for quality in qualitative research. Common to all these criteria is the understanding that the data gathering process, often interviews, is central in assessing research quality. Studies have highlighted the preparation of the interview guide, appropriate ways to ask questions, and especially the interaction between interviewer and interviewee. To a lesser extent, qualitative scholars mention the importance of the interviewer’s listening abilities in obtaining the interviewee’s cooperation. Based on results of listening studies in the fields of psychology and organizational behavior, we argue that good listening is crucial for assessing the quality of qualitative research, yet remains a blind spot in qualitative data gathering. Drawing on our experience as qualitative researcher and listening researcher, we present practices for enhancing good listening in qualitative research, thereby enabling researchers to calibrate themselves as research instruments and obtain richer data.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)614-631
Number of pages18
JournalQualitative Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • Qualitative
  • criteria
  • interview
  • listening
  • quality

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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