Table 1

Techniques to enhance the credibility and confirmability of this qualitative study as informed by Lincoln and Guba's criteria42

PrincipleExecution of the principle in this study
(1) Prolonged engagement (scope)
  • The research team is either originally from or has lived and worked in this setting over several years. The research team was attuned to the priorities, social dynamics and contextual factors pertinent to this study setting.

(2) Persistent observation (depth)
  • The research team has been involved in multiple data collection activities pertinent to this project for a period of several months, with data collection for this specific substudy stretching over 2 months. The research team was attuned to tools, behaviours and relationships related to this issue in the study setting.

(3) Peer debriefing
  • Debriefings43 were conducted each evening throughout data collection and involved all members of the data collection team, sharing, questioning and comparing one another’s findings.

(4) Source triangulation (multiple data sources)
  • The team collected data from multiple types of stakeholders and using diverse data collection tools across multiple settings.

(5) Analytical triangulation (multiple data analysts)
  • Memos drawn up during peer debriefings informed the development of a codebook.

  • Members of the research team who undertook data collection also participated in data analysis.

  • All final results were reviewed and discussed by the full research team.

(6) Audit trail
  • Memos drawn up during peer debriefings formed the basis for an audit trail of the study.

(7) Reflexivity
  • Within the research team, those with extensive experience (as scientists or practitioners who are from the study setting, or have worked for years in the study setting) provided contextual insight. The research team encouraged one another to explicitly consider the lens through which they viewed the data, and how this lens affected the focus group discussion encounter (in terms of questions, probes and perceptions). These conversations were typed up during debriefings.