For that component of my thesis where quantitative analysis of primary source numerical data is employed, I’ve reviewed similar data outside the time period discussed in my thesis–in order to eliminate any potential bias of my interpretation of the numerical data contained within that frame of reference of my thesis. If there was little or no relationship between numerical data in support of my thesis I have noted such in the rough draft.
The qualitative analysis of primary source data and information includes a set of unstructured interviews–one small component of the primary source data–with one participant from the War in the Pacific. Due to the inaccessibility of a rapidly decreasing population of first-hand subjects, that component of my thesis is limited to a single member, or participant. The benefit of unstructured interviews with my subject was to remove any limitations to the information that was disseminated. Since I was limited to a single subject, there existed no need to develop a standardized set of questions for a sample group of multiple participants. This had the added benefit of omitting any bias inherent in standardized questions which may have led to bias in the final thesis.
I have employed qualitative methods from the sociological theory of Egon Guba and Yvonna Lincoln’s “Alternative Theory of Judging Qualitative Research,” which is their alternative paradigm to currently accepted sociological theory: credibility, transferability, dependability, and “confirmability.” These four criteria were used by me in judging the viability of the primary and secondary source material utilized in my thesis. For example, my single subject who was interviewed extensively in 2012 and again in 2013 proved credible against what is already known in my area of interest. My subject’s oral contributions meet the “litmus test” of transferability to what is currently believed by historians today. Were I to have had access to more participants via interview, the information gleaned from my single subject would most probably have been found dependable; that is, other participants most likely would have offered similar subjective information and contribution. Lastly, confirmability, “the degree to which the results could be confirmed or corroborated by others,” may best be left open to final review and acceptance of my thesis.