Epistemic Attitudes and Source Critique in Qualitative Research

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this essay, we explore and discuss current practices of source critique. In our empirical analysis of a sample of interview-based studies, we find that few studies show a careful and reflective stance toward their sources. In the majority of cases, we discern a tendency to either ignore basic issues of the trustworthiness of interview material or produce technical descriptions which seem to have no real effect on the actual assessment of the study’s sources. We suggest five epistemic attitudes which describe how scholars engage—or rather not engage—in source critique. To improve source critique, we suggest tactics of intra- and extrasource critique which seriously consider interactional dynamics behind and quality of interview content other than “truth” reporting, aiming to corroborate interview statements by carefully cross-checking interview material with observations and multiple sources.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economics and Business


  • interviews, qualitative Research, source critique, epistemic attitude
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-45
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Management Inquiry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan 1
Publication categoryResearch