Why do we always generalize in qualitative research?

Tone Roald, Simo Køppe, Torben Bechman Jensen, Jannik Moeskjær Hansen, Kasper Levin

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


A common criticism of qualitative research is that it lacks the possibility of making generalizations. In this article, however, we describe how informal generalization on the one hand is inextricably linked to the use of method and theory, whereas on the other hand, several formal methodological considerations in relation to the particular, qualitative study further ensure that claims can be made on a more general level. As such, a variety of possibilities for generalization exists, each with its own particular scientific legitimacy adapted to the complexity of the different inquiries whereby generalization is an internal, indispensable, and unavoidable aspect of qualitative research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Psychology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)69–81
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

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