Dialogues: ‘QUANT’ researchers on ‘QUAL’ methods.

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Pilcher, Nick. ; Cortazzi, Martin. (2016)
  • Publisher: College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, Nova Southeastern University
  • Subject: ethnographic dialogue | Information Society | Z665 | Languages | qualitative methods | 001 Knowledge | QA76 | quantitative research | Z665 Library Science. Information Science | Research

Qualitative researchers commonly perceive that positivist hard-science researchers and policies of governments deprecate qualitative methods and approaches. Curiously though, we could not see anyone asking quantitative researchers ‘What do you think about qualitative approaches and methods?’ We did this in interviews with 17 assumed quantitative researchers in the fields of advanced materials construction, civil engineering, transport modelling, computer science, and geotechnics. Surprisingly, these researchers rarely described themselves as purely quantitative, and were rarely against the five qualitative methods discussed. Moreover, many actually used qualitative methods, often in ways we had not anticipated. Drawing on a Bakhtinian grounded framework, we present our analysis as a performed ethnographic dialogue between data extracts and research literature. We present evidence that the alleged qualitative-quantitative divide does not apply here, and suggest dialogic ways to see teach "qualitative" and "quantitative" and some associated terms.
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