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Triangulation in Qualitative Research


Triangulation in Qualitative Research 

Prof. Dr. H. Mudjia Rahardjo, M. Si 

One of the critical questions that often arise from researchers and students conducting research is the problem of triangulation. Many still do not understand the meaning and purpose of poles in research, especially qualitative research. Due to this lack of understanding, problems often arise between students and lecturers in the mentoring process and between lecturers when testing theses, theses, and dissertations. This will not happen if each has a sufficient understanding of triangulation. Generally, questions revolve around whether triangulation is necessary for research and, if necessary, how to do it. The following is a brief description from various sources and the author's previous experience. Triangulation is essentially a multi-method approach that researchers use when collecting and analyzing data.

The basic idea is that the phenomenon under study can be well understood so that a high level of truth can be obtained from various viewpoints. Photographing a single phenomenon from different points of view will allow a reliable degree of truth to be obtained. Therefore, triangulation is an attempt to check the truth of data or information obtained by researchers from various perspectives by reducing the bias that occurs during data collection and analysis as much as possible. As is known in qualitative research, the researcher himself is the main instrument. Therefore, the quality of qualitative research is highly dependent on the quality of the researcher himself, including his experience in conducting research which is very valuable. The more experience a person has in conducting research, the more sensitive he is to understanding the symptoms or phenomena being studied. However, it is difficult for a researcher to avoid bias or subjectivity as a human being. Therefore, the researcher's task is to reduce as much as possible the bias that occurs to obtain the complete truth. At this point, positivists doubt the scientific level of qualitative research. 

Some consider qualitative research to be unscientific. Historically, triangulation is a technique used to survey land and sea to determine a certain point using several different methods. It turns out that this technique is proven to reduce the bias and shortcomings caused by measuring with one method or method only. From the 1950s to the 1960s, the triangulation method began to be used in qualitative research as a way to improve the measurement of validity and strengthen the credibility of research findings by comparing them with different approaches. Because it uses terminology and methods similar to the positivistic (quantitative) paradigm model, such as measurement and validity, triangulation invites considerable debate among qualitative research experts themselves. The reason is, that apart from being similar to quantitative research methods and methods, different methods can indeed be used to measure different aspects, but they will also produce different data. Despite the fierce debate, the triangulation method is increasingly commonly used in qualitative research because it has been shown to reduce bias and increase research credibility.

In his various works, Norman K. Denkin defines triangulation as a combination or combination of various methods used to examine interrelated phenomena from different points of view and perspectives. Until now, Denkin's concept has been used by qualitative researchers in various fields. According to him, triangulation includes four things, namely:

  1. Method triangulation.
  2. Inter-researcher triangulation (if the research is conducted in groups).
  3. Triangulation of data sources.
  4. Theoretical triangulation.

Here's the explanation. 

1. Method triangulation is done by comparing information or data differently. As is well known, researchers use interviews, observations, and surveys in qualitative research. To obtain the truth of reliable information and a complete picture of certain information, researchers can use free interviews and structured interviews. Or, the researcher uses interviews and observations to check the truth. In addition, researchers can also use different informants to limit the truth of the information. It is hoped that results that are close to the truth are obtained through various perspectives or views. Therefore, triangulation at this stage is carried out if the data or information obtained from the subject or research informant is doubtful. Thus, if the data is clear, for example, in the form of texts or scripts/transcripts of films, novels, and the like, triangulation is not necessary. However, other aspects are still being triangulated. 

2. Triangulation between researchers is done by using more than one person in data collection and analysis. This technique is recognized as enriching the repertoire of knowledge regarding the information extracted from the research subject. However, it should be noted that the people who are invited to explore the data must have research experience and are free from conflicts of interest so as not to harm the researcher and create new biases from triangulation. 

3. Triangulation of data sources is to explore the truth of certain information through various methods and data acquisition sources. For example, in addition to interviews and observations, researchers can use participant observation, written documents, archives, historical documents, official records, personal notes, writings, and pictures or photos. Of course, each of these methods will produce different evidence or data, which in turn will provide different insights into the phenomenon under study. These various views will give birth to the breadth of knowledge to obtain reliable truth. 

4. The last is the triangulation theory. The final result of qualitative research is an information formulation or thesis statement. The information is then compared with relevant theoretical perspectives to avoid the researcher's individual bias on the findings or conclusions generated. 

In addition, theoretical triangulation can increase the depth of understanding as long as researchers are able to explore theoretical knowledge in depth on the results of data analysis that has been obtained. Admittedly, this stage is the most difficult because researchers are required to have expert judgment when comparing their findings with certain perspectives, especially if the comparisons show far different results. At the end of this paper, I would like to state that triangulation is very important in qualitative research, although it certainly adds time and cost, and effort. 

But it must be recognized that triangulation can increase the depth of understanding of researchers both about the phenomenon under study and the context in which the phenomenon occurs. However, a deep understanding of the phenomenon under study is a value that every qualitative researcher must strive for. This is because qualitative research is born to capture the meaning (meaning) or understand the symptoms, events, facts, events, reality or certain problems regarding social and humanitarian events with their complexity in-depth and not to explain (to explain) the relationship between variables or prove the relationship. Cause and effect or correlation of a particular problem. Depth of understanding will be obtained only if the data is rich enough and a variety of perspectives are used to comprehensively portray the focus of the problem. Therefore, understanding and explaining are two very different areas. Good luck!

Source: https://uin-malang.ac.id/blog/post/read/101001/triangulasi-dalam-penelitian-kualitatif.html

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