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A Tale of Two CulturesQualitative and Quantitative Research in the Social Sciences$
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Gary Goertz and James Mahoney

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691149707

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691149707.001.0001

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(p.1) Chapter 1 Introduction
A Tale of Two Cultures

Gary Goertz

James Mahoney

Princeton University Press

This book investigates the relationship between the quantitative and qualitative research traditions in the social sciences, with a particular focus on political science and sociology. It argues that the two traditions are alternative cultures with distinctive research procedures and practices, each having its own values, beliefs, and norms. The book considers the ways in which the traditions differ in terms of methodology, such as type of research question, mode of data analysis, and method of inference. It suggests that the two traditions draw on alternative mathematical foundations: quantitative research is grounded in inferential statistics (that is, probability and statistical theory), whereas qualitative research is (often implicitly) rooted in logic and set theory. This chapter discusses the book's approach to characterizing and comparing the two cultures of social science research and explains what is distinctive about qualitative research.

Keywords:   qualitative research, social sciences, political science, sociology, data analysis, quantitative research, inferential statistics, logic, set theory, social science research

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