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
Date Written: 2003
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.
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By Thomas Kern