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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.205) Chapter 16 Scope
A Tale of Two Cultures

Gary Goertz

James Mahoney

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on scope conditions in qualitative and quantitative research. It begins with a simple example, Hooke's law from physics, to illustrate the concept of “scope.” It then considers some of the most popular “within-model” responses to causal heterogeneity problems, showing that the option of changing the causal model to address causal heterogeneity issues is more attractive to quantitative researchers than to qualitative researchers. It also examines how the existence of causal complexity and concerns about fit with data can lead scholars to use scope conditions. Finally, it discusses the relationship between empirical testing and the proposed scope of theories and suggests that issues of scope raise Fundamental Tradeoffs in social science research, including tradeoffs concerning the tension between generality and parsimony, and between generality and issues of model fit.

Keywords:   scope conditions, quantitative research, Hooke's law, within-model responses, causal heterogeneity, qualitative research, causal complexity, empirical testing, Fundamental Tradeoffs, social science research

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