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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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Conceptual Opposites and Typologies

Conceptual Opposites and Typologies

(p.161) Chapter 13 Conceptual Opposites and Typologies
A Tale of Two Cultures

Gary Goertz

James Mahoney

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers how opposing pairs of categories and typologies are used in the qualitative and quantitative research traditions. It begins with a discussion of the concepts of democracy and authoritarianism to illustrate the symmetric versus asymmetric approaches to conceptual opposites. In particular, it explains the Principle of Conceptual Opposites in qualitative research, which states that the meaning and measurement of a concept and its opposite are not symmetric. It then examines overlapping versus exclusive typologies, focusing on the Principle of Conceptual Overlap. It also describes the importance of semantics when dealing with cases that do not fit available categories if the goal is to have useful nominal categories.

Keywords:   concepts, typologies, opposites, Principle of Conceptual Opposites, qualitative research, categories, measurement, Principle of Conceptual Overlap, semantics, quantitative research

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