chapter  9
Interdisciplinary research and GIS
Why local and indigenous knowledge are discounted
ByJohn R. Campbell
Pages 17

The debate between proponents of ‘hard’ (i.e. quantitative) and ‘soft’ (i.e. qualitative) social science research which extended to the merits of different research methods (e.g. surveys, ethnography, interviewing, etc.) has generated a huge amount of hyperbole regarding the qualities of ‘good’ research. Phrased in terms of the distinctiveness and ability of one methodology to offer a better explanation of ‘reality’ than the other, the debate has proved impossible to resolve. The resulting polarization has resulted in a failure to see that good research combines methods and forms of explanation from both ‘paradigms’ (Bryman 1988). In addition, some of the claims made by proponents of a methodology lack substance because they do not reflect the way in which research was actually conducted. For example, Sechrist and Sidani (1995) argue that misunderstandings arise partially from the failure of researchers clearly to distinguish between the precise manner in which field research was conducted and the reconstructed version of an ideal to which a researcher adheres.