Reconceptualizing the member check interview

Lori E. Koelsch, Duquesne University


The member check has been heralded as an important component of validation in qualitative research. Traditionally, the member check has been used in order to assess the accuracy with which a researcher has represented a participant's subjectivity. Some theorists, however, have argued that change, rather than representation, should be sought as a primary goal for qualitative research. The difference between using representation or change as a marker of validity has been described as a transactional/transformational divide. I argue that the member check can be utilized to span this divide in order to support a holistic view of validity. In particular, I assert that researchers should not expect participant subjectivities to remain static throughout the research process. Examples of the member check used in this manner are provided. © 2013 Koelsch.