Rigorous. Rigor is the degree to which research has scientific merit and avoids bias in any form. It includes that the research design, measuring instruments,statistical methods and data analysis are correct and appropriate. It leads one to accept that the findings are valid and the conclusions are correct.It can be called“Scientific Merit”,“Quality of research design”, “Adequacy of data analysis”, “Validity of method”, “Legitimacy of conclusions”or “Conduct of research”. Rigor is based on following accepted scientific method, e.g. using the right statistics for the data gathered. It answers reader concerns like“Can I trust this?” and “Why should I believe the paper’s results?” Rigor is important because there is little point publishing results that people think have no foundation in evidence.
Elements. To check if a paper is rigorous, consider research elements such as:
- Was there a pilot study to test any procedures and improve them?
- Does the research design connect the results to the research question?
- Did the research account for experimenter and subject bias?
- Was a randomly allocated control group used?
- Are the measures valid, i.e. represent what they purport to?
- Are the measures reliable, i.e. able to be repeated?
- Was the unit of research clear?
- Is the evidence gathering procedure described step by step?
- Is the task properly described?
- Are any questions understandable, unambiguous, unbiased and answerable?
- Are response scales easy to use, unbiased, exhaustive and sensitive?
- What significance levels were used for the results?
- What result evidence supports the paper’s claim?
- How were missing values recorded?
- Was the sample big enough and did it represent the population?
- Are the statistics used appropriate?
- Analysis assumptions stated and checked?