The Pattern-matching Role of Systems Thinking in Improving Research Trustworthiness

Guangming Cao

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper seeks to identify a new and useful role for systems thinking inimproving qualitative research quality. Firstly, it reflects upon the main characteristics anddifficulties of qualitative research. Secondly, it critically reviews some of the techniquessuggested to improve research credibility, transferability, dependability and confirmability.Thirdly, it explains the concept of pattern-matching and its role in designing case studies.Based on these, the paper examines the pattern-matching role of systems thinking inenhancing the trustworthiness of qualitative research. Finally, a case study is described toillustrate how pattern-matching is embedded in systems perspective to improve researchtrustworthiness. The paper highlights that when systems thinking is combined with patternmatchingproperly in qualitative research, it can help the investigators to develop a fullerand richer understanding of a phenomenon, and can enable others interested in the researchto recover how conclusions have been made and to make informed judgement about theresearch findings.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)441-453
    JournalSystems Practice and Action Research
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 19 May 2007


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