Handbooks of Research Methods and Applications series
Edited by Frederic S. Lee and Bruce Cronin
Chapter 4: Separate or symbiotic? Quantitative and qualitative methods in (heterodox) economics research
Qualitative and quantitative research methods are typically treated as distinct tools in economics research. This chapter explores the presumed analytical separation of these methods, questioning whether they are distinct from one another, or whether, in fact, they are interdependent and mutually informative avenues for social exploration. After reviewing the different arguments for and against the integration of these methods, we argue the latter: that is, that quantitative and qualitative research methods must each be, and are, necessarily related to the other in the construction of empirically grounded theory. In addition, if economic research is to adequately explain the complexities of social reality, both qualitative and quantitative methods can and should also be used in conjunction with one another (for instance, through data triangulation and case-study methods).
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