The qualitative transparency deliberations: Insights and implications

Alan M. Jacobs, Tim Büthe, Ana Arjona, Leonardo R. Arriola, Eva Bellin, Andrew Bennett, Lisa Björkman, Erik Bleich, Zachary Elkins, Tasha Fairfield, Nikhar Gaikwad, Sheena Chestnut Greitens, Mary Hawkesworth, Veronica Herrera, Yoshiko M. Herrera, Kimberley S. Johnson, Ekrem Karakoç, Kendra Koivu, Marcus Kreuzer, Milli LakeTimothy W. Luke, Lauren M. Maclean, Samantha Majic, Rahsaan Maxwell, Zachariah Mampilly, Robert Mickey, Kimberly J. Morgan, Sarah E. Parkinson, Craig Parsons, Wendy Pearlman, Mark A. Pollack, Elliot Posner, Rachel Beatty Riedl, Edward Schatz, Carsten Q. Schneider, Jillian Schwedler, Anastasia Shesterinina, Erica S. Simmons, Diane Singerman, Hillel David Soifer, Nicholas Rush Smith, Scott Spitzer, Jonas Tallberg, Susan Thomson, Antonio Y. Vázquez-Arroyo, Barbara Vis, Lisa Wedeen, Juliet A. Williams, Elisabeth Jean Wood, Deborah J. Yashar

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In recent years, a variety of efforts have been made in political science to enable, encourage, or require scholars to be more open and explicit about the bases of their empirical claims and, in turn, make those claims more readily evaluable by others. While qualitative scholars have long taken an interest in making their research open, reflexive, and systematic, the recent push for overarching transparency norms and requirements has provoked serious concern within qualitative research communities and raised fundamental questions about the meaning, value, costs, and intellectual relevance of transparency for qualitative inquiry. In this Perspectives Reflection, we crystallize the central findings of a three-year deliberative process - the Qualitative Transparency Deliberations (QTD) - involving hundreds of political scientists in a broad discussion of these issues. Following an overview of the process and the key insights that emerged, we present summaries of the QTD Working Groups' final reports. Drawing on a series of public, online conversations that unfolded at, the reports unpack transparency's promise, practicalities, risks, and limitations in relation to different qualitative methodologies, forms of evidence, and research contexts. Taken as a whole, these reports - the full versions of which can be found in the Supplementary Materials - offer practical guidance to scholars designing and implementing qualitative research, and to editors, reviewers, and funders seeking to develop criteria of evaluation that are appropriate - as understood by relevant research communities - to the forms of inquiry being assessed. We dedicate this Reflection to the memory of our coauthor and QTD working group leader Kendra Koivu.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)171-208
    Number of pages38
    JournalPerspectives on Politics
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Mar 2021

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Political Science and International Relations


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