Iterative learning: a way of achieving generalizability in idiographic research?

Marc Stierand, Viktor Dörfler

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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In this developmental paper we discuss the thesis that iterative learning is a valid way for generalizing qualitative research findings derived from idiographic research. More precisely, we argue that iterative learning can be used for generalizing idiographic-qualitative research findings that were derived from investigating the ‘extraordinary’ instances of the population. We first outline the notions of iterative learning, idiographic research, and the extraordinary. Then, we continue to discuss generalizability in idiographic research. Finally, we make a link to Polanyi’s principle of mutual control and argue that, when linked with iterative learning, idiographic research results can be accepted and become valuable intellectual commodities of the research community. The principle of mutual control is our starting point for further re-search and we welcome any suggestions, comments, and experiences on the effects of mutual control on the iterative learning process.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012
EventBAM 2012 - Cardiff, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Sep 201213 Sep 2012


ConferenceBAM 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • iterative learning
  • generalisation
  • idiosyncratic research
  • idiographic research
  • achieving generalizability


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