chapter  41
10 Pages

Counting Qualitative Data

ByChad Michael McPherson, Michael Sauder

Discussions of the relationship between qualitative and quantitative approaches to social research often focus on their contradictory aspects or the relative strengths of each (for helpful overviews, see Kaplan, this volume; Howe 1988, 1992; Rossman and Wilson 1985). Qualitative research is often portrayed as offering rich context, phenomenological understanding, insight into behavioral complexity, and the opportunity for inductive theory building, while quantitative approaches are cast as promising standardization, control, reliability, and a firmer basis for making causal claims consistent with deductive theory testing (for helpful overviews, see Adler and Adler 1994; Fine and Elsbach 2000; Johnson and Onwuegbuzie 2004).