Qualitative versus Quantitative: What Might This Distinction Mean?

Newsletter of the American Political Science Association, Vol. 1, No. 1, Spring 2003

5 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2011 Last revised: 25 Mar 2016

See all articles by David Collier

David Collier

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Political Science

Jason Seawright

Northwestern University - Department of Political Science

Henry E. Brady

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Political Science

Date Written: 2003

Abstract

The qualitative-quantitative distinction may be understood in terms of four dimensions: level of measurement, size of the N, use of statistical tests, and thick versus thin analysis. Each of these dimensions is associated with distinctive forms of analytic leverage. Many studies correspond neatly to the “qualitative” or “quantitative” side of all four dimensions, and for these studies this is a clear dichotomy. Other research bridges this dichotomy, combining different forms of analytic leverage in innovative and productive ways.

Suggested Citation

Collier, David and Seawright, Jason and Brady, Henry E., Qualitative versus Quantitative: What Might This Distinction Mean? (2003). Newsletter of the American Political Science Association, Vol. 1, No. 1, Spring 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1755156

David Collier (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Political Science ( email )

210 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Jason Seawright

Northwestern University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Scott Hall
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Henry E. Brady

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Political Science ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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