This criterion refers to the applicability of findings in one context (where the research is done) to other contexts or settings (where the interpretations might be transferred). Whether findings can be transferred or not is an empirical question, which cannot be answered by the inquirer alone. The target context must be compared to the research context to identify similarities. The more similar, the more likely it is that the findings will be transferable. Persons reading the qualitative inquiry reports have to make this decision.

This transferability analysis is facilitated by clear descriptions of the time and context in which working hypotheses are developed by the qualitative inquirer. Thick description of the phenomena under study and as much of the context in which the study took place as possible is the most powerful technique for facilitating transferability decisions. But the transfer must be made by audiences to the report, not by the author.

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