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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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Causal Models

Causal Models

(p.51) Chapter 4 Causal Models
A Tale of Two Cultures

Gary Goertz

James Mahoney

Princeton University Press

This chapter compares two causal models used in qualitative and quantitative research: an additive-linear model and a set-theoretic model. The additive-linear causal model is common in the statistical culture, whereas the set-theoretic model is often used (implicitly) in the qualitative culture. After providing an overview of the two causal models, the chapter considers the main differences between them. It then gives an example to illustrate how a set-theoretic causal model is implicitly used in the within-case analysis of a specific outcome. It also explains how the form of causal complexity varies across the quantitative and qualitative paradigms. Finally, it examines another difference between the causal models used in quantitative and qualitative research, one that revolves around the concept of “equifinality” or “multiple causation.” The chapter suggests that while the two causal models are quite different, neither is a priori correct.

Keywords:   causal models, qualitative research, quantitative research, additive-linear causal model, set-theoretic causal model, within-case analysis, causal complexity, equifinality, multiple causation

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