Why We Vote in Canada? Hermeneutic Analysis of Statistical Surveys
Annual Conference of the Canadian Political Science Association Brock University, 27-29 May 2014
18 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2014
Date Written: May 27, 2014
It is been considered as truism that quantitative and qualitative research methods are worlds apart. Statistics, on the one hand, look for experimental causation and for correlation probabilities; interpretativists, on the other hand, look for meaning. This research tries to bridge this methodological hiatus by offering new set of techniques designed to unlock hidden meaning from social surveys that were not originally designed to be treated hermeneutically. It is located at the meeting point of my interests on political culture and qualitative methodology.
Theoretically, this study builds upon holistic interpretative premises, established by Dilthey, Weber and Geertz; informants do not just provide answers to survey questions but remain cultural individuals, i.e. un-divided and internally un-contradicting sources of meaningful action. Although each bit of coded statistical information may have many different meanings, the combination of such bits within particular informants may yield only limited if not unique circle of interpretation. Especially for those using qualitative methods, this set of techniques has a potential to open a brand new sub-discipline within political science, hermeneutical analysis of statistical surveys. The main points are demonstrated by analyzing results of a randomly chosen public survey on electoral attitudes in Canada.
Keywords: qualitative, quantitative, voting, Canada
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