Qualitative political and historical researchers seek to analyze social or political phenomena from multiple perspectives in order to gain an in-depth understanding of their research topic, as well as insight into the broader scope of their disciplines. They accomplish these goals by using case-specific methods that are designed to generate knowledge and yet are limiting in that same area. Because of their selectively designed character, each of these methods will neither generate a multi-dimensional analysis of a given research topic, nor address the serious validity issues often associated with qualitative research. Nonetheless, they are productive approaches for evaluating the "truth" carried by certain hypotheses and well-structured for qualitative analysis. Though they have apparent weaknesses, these methods do indeed satisfy the major goals of qualitative research.
Historians and political scientists seek to have a broad yet deep understanding of society and politics based on multiple perspectives (Bogdan, 38). Very often, they want both a theoretical and empirical understanding of a given topic, as that suggests knowledge of general concepts along with detailed information. They aim to describe-though somewhat scientifically-and to form arguments mainly by explaining in qualitative terms the noteworthy attributes of a given social or political event or trend. Fundamentally, the two underlying goals behind such research are: (a) to understand the complex nature of politics and power in the context of human affairs, and (b) to explain political behavior (Marsh, 152; Johnson, 37).
The way in which qualitative researchers pursue these goals is through methodologie...
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