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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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Causes-of-Effects versus Effects-of-Causes

Causes-of-Effects versus Effects-of-Causes

(p.41) Chapter 3 Causes-of-Effects versus Effects-of-Causes
A Tale of Two Cultures

Gary Goertz

James Mahoney

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines two approaches used in social science research: the “causes-of-effects” approach and the “effects-of-causes” approach. The quantitative and qualitative cultures differ in the extent to which and the ways in which they address causes-of-effects and effects-of-causes questions. Quantitative scholars, who favor the effects-of-causes approach, focus on estimating the average effects of particular variables within populations or samples. By contrast, qualitative scholars employ individual case analysis to explain outcomes as well as the effects of particular causal factors. The chapter first considers the type of research question addressed by both quantitative and qualitative researchers before discussing the use of within-case analysis by the latter to investigate individual cases versus cross-case analysis by the former to elucidate central tendencies in populations. It also describes the complementarities between qualitative and quantitative research that make mixed-method research possible.

Keywords:   social science research, causes-of-effects approach, effects-of-causes approach, individual case analysis, qualitative research, within-case analysis, cross-case analysis, quantitative research, mixed-method research, individual cases

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