Thematic and Critical Discussion. Quantitative and Qualitative Research

Essay, 2013

4 Pages, Grade: B


Thematic and Critical Discussion

In quantitative and qualitative studies, a distinction can be seen between critical and experimental approaches when conducting data analysis. Both approaches inculcate a form critique for a particular research. In most cases, experimental approaches are meant to identify the participants’ experience and their different perspectives. It is also meant to understand participants’ thoughts and ideas, practices and feelings from their language use, whereas the other one does not. Critical approaches, however, conflict with experimental approaches about mainstream research among other variations.

Thematic analysis, though rarely known by researchers is widely used method in both qualitative and quantitative analyses. These articles argue that this method of data analysis offers a theoretically flexible and accessible approach to both qualitative and quantitative data analysis (Boyatzis, 2008). Thematic analysis is thus a flexible and useful method used to analyse both qualitative and quantitative data.

“A tale of two Cultures” depicts how some social scientists argue that there exist some similarities between quantitative and qualitative methods of data analysis. In the article “A Tale of Two Cultures”, James Mahoney and Gary Goertz show that these two paradigms are made up of different cultures. Each paradigm is coherent, internally yet identified by contrasting practices, norms and toolkits. They introduce and outline the major differences that exist between the two traditions which touch almost all aspects of researches in social sciences. Such aspects include goals, designs, concepts and measurements, casual effects and models, case selection and data analysis (Boyatzis, 2008).

Their arguments have mainly focused on differences that exist in quantitative and qualitative research. The two authors also wish to increase exchange, toleration and learning by scholars. They make this possible by enabling them to reason outside their own culture and see a different scientific world view. The book is written in a simple and easy style. It also contains various examples from real world to show different methodological points.

Gary Goertz is a professor of political science who takes the same at the University of Notre Dame. Among his works is a User Gide to Social Science Concept. On the other hand, James Mahoney is a professor of Economic History at Fitzgerald. He is also a professor of sociology and political science at Northwestern University. His works include Colonialism and Postcolonial Development.

“A Tale of Two Cultures” is a must read, especially for social scientists. It best suits a group of social scientists who specialize in one research culture in preference to another. The book provides concrete examples to illustrate the background of the two cultures. If a researcher needs clarification on different topics on research methods, the book may be particularly relevant. It gives a clear guideline on different issues with the “two culture approach”. The book also appreciates and promotes exchange of different research methods. It provides a clear insight on the interconnections that exist between different research methodologies (Mahoney, & Goertz, 2012).

“A Tale of Two Cultures” depicts how quantitative research has, for many years, been seen as an ill-mannered stepchild in the field of quantitative research. This belief is then hampered by the belief that qualitative research employs primitive analytic techniques and numerous dislocated enthusiasms that are used to elaborate cases (Mahoney, & Goertz, 2012). The book challenges this stereotype by illustrating the distinctiveness that exists in quantitative approach. It also avails not only an accessible but also a comprehensive challenge to different critical conventional views.

This work is meant to give readers insight the reason why conflicting approaches in social sciences are the best when one is given goals and assumptions between the two paradigms. It also gives a room for readers from the two sides to understand other alternative perspectives for them to reconsider their own goals and approach. Therefore, it is clear that “A Tale of Two Cultures” introduces a clear challenge to basic fundamentals of how research should be conducted.

According to Wesley, most courses and textbooks in political science methodologies do not show much attention to analyses involving qualitative documents. Most of them concentrate on interviews, qualitative and quantitative analysis, field studies and experimentation. Only a few concentrate on quantitative document analysis whatsoever. When studying qualitative analysis of political texts, the study is broadly categorized as archival or unobtrusive research. It may also be conflated using coding of field notes or transcripts (Wesley, 2010). They also lack detailed methodological discussions which are a bit disconcerting. This is based on the condition that most of these political scientists have combined shreds of textual interpretation as depicted by their studies. Such analyses should be guided by the rigour of the same level as those found in the quantity fields.

The article has a number of guidelines that compare these methodologies with traditional models. These models were used to analyze various quantitative contents. It also gives a summary of a few quantitative document analyses and examines other same approaches in other disciplines of social science (Wesley, 2010).


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Thematic and Critical Discussion. Quantitative and Qualitative Research
Stanford University
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thematic, critical, discussion, quantitative, qualitative, research
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Francis Marete (Author), 2013, Thematic and Critical Discussion. Quantitative and Qualitative Research, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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