The purpose of this rejoinder is twofold. The first is to question the call to extend a “replication standard” for qualitative research in political science. (See Golden, 1995a). The second is to question how useful the focus on “replicability” is for research in political science in general (see King, 1995a, and the debate on “Verification/Replication” in PS, 1995 28(3): 443–99).
What underlies a replication standard for qualitative research? I believe that the call for a replication standard for qualitative research is applicable to only certain kinds of research, and that, even within its own limitations, is probably misguided. For the most part, when proponents of a replication standard have anticipated dissension over the requirement of replication for qualitative research, they have pointed to logistical, pragmatic, and privacy burdens that such a requirement may impose on researchers.
In contrast, my main contention concerns the very conceptualization of research as replicable. I argue that the assumptions underlying a replication standard are strongly and narrowly positivist. The replication standard itself is reductionist, and its use would marginalize a portion of the qualitative research now being conducted in political science.