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Durham University

Research & business

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Focusing on the Case in Quantitative and Qualitative Research

A research project of the Department of Sociology.

Background

The quantitative programme in social research has been essentially analytical and organized around the identification of the contribution of variables, singly or in combination, to causal outcomes. In contrast the qualitative programme has investigated causality through the comparative examination of cases. There is an interesting convergence of quantitative and qualitative procedures driven by developments in computing resources. Numerical taxonomy techniques and 'Qualitative Comparative Analyis' illustrate this development. We are proposing to run a series of four training seminars in which the essentials of quantitative and qualitative case based methods will be presented in an integrative way with a view to developing the understanding and use of case based methods in social research in general. The emphasis will be on the complementarity of quantitative and qualitative approaches in informing understanding causality at the case level.

Aims

1. To develop understanding among UK social researchers of the potential of the integration of quantitative and qualitative tools in the case based examination of causal processes.

2. To create a set of teaching materials which will be refined in interaction with social researchers during the course of the programme and be made available as a teaching resource to postgraduate students and researchers in the social sciences and cognate areas.

3. To produce at least three methodologically based articles elaborating the ontological and epistemological foundations of case based integrated methods.

Methods

Focus Group discussions and NVIVO grounded theory method for reviewing and interpreting views of informants.