Social Research Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012-20, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 19 December, 2019 , © Lee Harvey 2012–2020.


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core definition

Transferability is the extent to which results of research in one setting can be transferrred to another.

explanatory context

Transferability is similar but distinct from generalisability and representativeness.

analytical review

Colorado State University (1993–2013) defines transferability as:

The ability to apply the results of research in one context to another similar context. Also, the extent to which a study invites readers to make connections between elements of the study and their own experiences.

Trochim (2006) wrote:

Transferability refers to the degree to which the results of qualitative research can be generalized or transferred to other contexts or settings. From a qualitative perspective transferability is primarily the responsibility of the one doing the generalizing. The qualitative researcher can enhance transferability by doing a thorough job of describing the research context and the assumptions that were central to the research. The person who wishes to "transfer" the results to a different context is then responsible for making the judgment of how sensible the transfer is.

associated issues


related areas

See also


transferable skills

Researching the Real World Section


Colorado State University, 1993–2013, Glossary of Key Terms available at, accessed 3 February 2013, still available 15 June 2019.

Trochim, W.M.K., 2006, 'Qualitative Validity' available at, accessed 9 May 2013, still available 15 June 2019.

copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2020


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