Yes, qualitative research is one of the primary methodologies in the scientific disciplines. The foundation of scientific inquiry includes an emphasis on systematic empiricism (observation), and it is not limited to any one method. Qualitative research, as conducted for the Pathways Project, involves a thoughtful selection of participants, training of the data collectors, analytic frameworks that allow for examination of dominant and less dominant themes, and procedures for assessing the validity of assumptions about conclusions.
No, we cannot refer any participants for others to speak to. Like survey respondents, the people who agreed to participate in the interview study did not consent to being contacted for journalistic or other non-research reasons. We provide quotes as evidence of the conclusions we draw from the data and hope this can provide some direct insight about what respondents thought or experienced. However, if you are interested in additional sources on the topic from LGBTQ people who experienced poverty, we can refer you to organizations that may have staff or clients that might speak to you.
No, like any quantitative method using non-random sampling approaches, qualitative research is not generalizable. By generalizable, we mean you cannot assume, for example, that the percentages of how many people discussed each theme would be about the same if you did the study in another location). Instead of generalizability, a test of validity of qualitative research is whether it has “credibility” and “transferability”. These terms refer to whether the findings ring true to other people knowledgeable about the communities and topics, as well as the extent to which the presentation of the data provide enough information to contextualize the findings and conclusions. This way, the reader can make an informed decision about whether the findings may look similar in the contexts they are interested.