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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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Semantics, Statistics, and Data Transformations

Semantics, Statistics, and Data Transformations

(p.150) Chapter 12 Semantics, Statistics, and Data Transformations
A Tale of Two Cultures

Gary Goertz

James Mahoney

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the qualitative view of variable transformation using the Fundamental Principle of Variable Transformation. According to the Fundamental Principle of Variable Transformation, all transformations of variables must be meaning preserving or increasing. Within the qualitative research tradition, transformations that do not conform to this principle are viewed as suspect. In the quantitative culture, variable transformations respond to the imperatives of statistics, whereas qualitative scholars work under a different set of norms and values that emphasize the importance of semantics and the meaning embodied in concepts. The chapter first considers standardization versus meaning retention as well as logging versus fuzzy-set transformations in qualitative and quantitative research paradigms before concluding with a discussion of rationales behind data transformations.

Keywords:   variable transformations, Fundamental Principle of Variable Transformation, qualitative research, statistics, standardization, meaning retention, logging, fuzzy-set transformations, quantitative research, data transformations

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