Academic Exchange Quarterly Fall 2003 ISSN 1096-1453 Volume 7, Issue 3

Peer Debriefing: Who, What, When, Why, How
Marydee A. Spillett, University of New Orleans, LA
The research methods literature recommends peer debriefing as a process to enhance 
the credibility of qualitative research. However, few details about how to plan, 
implement, and report this process are provided. This article delineates specific 
issues to consider: whom to select, what to do, when to meet, how to conduct, and 
how to report the process. Students may use these guidelines to assist in designing, 
executing and evaluating qualitative research studies. Incorporating these 
considerations may result in more effective implementation of peer debriefing 
methods and more credible reports of qualitative research.

The purpose of this article is to discuss peer debriefing in qualitative 
research–why it is important, who should do it, how to conduct it, and how to 
report it. Research methods texts advocate peer debriefing as a process to enhance 
the credibility or validity of qualitative research (Creswell, 1998; Ely, Anzul, 
Friedman, Garner, & Steinmetz, 1991; Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Maxwell, 1996; Merriam, 
1998). Despite widespread recommendation of this technique, the methodological 
literature provides few specific details about how to implement and evaluate this 
process. This article provides a set of decision-making considerations for 
researchers who are designing and conducting peer debriefing methods. While this 
paper is directed primarily to doctoral students conducting qualitative research 
studies, this article may also be of interest to faculty who teach research methods 
and to experienced researchers.