2009 Economics Sociology
SemanticScholar ID: 26756672 MAG: 1932757466

Sceptical or clerical? Theory as a barrier to the combination of research methods

Publication Summary

There is considerable and growing interest among social scientists and funders in the potential of research that mixes the approaches usually termed ‘qualitative’ and ‘quantitative’. One of the obstacles to further exploration of that potential is the frequently cited notion that these approaches represent more than methods – they are incommensurable ‘paradigms’. This paper discusses some of the reasons why these purported paradigms are not as much of an obstacle to mixed methods work as is sometimes portrayed. In doing so it touches on the nature of social scientific progress, and the role of different kinds of theory in that progress. The paper concludes that, as currently conceived, much theory writing is worse than useless. It is, like the notion of qualitative and quantitative paradigms, an obstacle to the development of theoretically appropriate mixed methods work.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Stephen Gorard

Prof. Stephen Gorard

University of Durham - Professor in the School of Education

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