In this article Elliot Mishler reformulates validation as a process through which a community of researchers evaluates the "trustworthiness" of a particular study as the basis for their own work. Rather than relying for their assessments on an investigator's adherence to formal rules or standardized procedures, skilled researchers, Mishler argues, depend on their tacit understanding of actual, situated practices in a field of inquiry. Validity claims are tested through the ongoing discourse among researchers and, in this sense, scientific knowledge is socially constructed. Within this perspective, Mishler proposes an approach to the problem of validation in inquiry-guided studies that relies on Kuhn's concept of exemplars— concrete models of research practice. He then examines three studies of narrative, suggesting them as candidate exemplars for this area of research since they provide reasonable grounds for evaluating their trustworthiness.

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