Essay about An Analysis of Qualitative Research Methods

Essay about An Analysis of Qualitative Research Methods

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An Analysis of Qualitative Research Methods


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...


... middle of paper ...


...n Political Behavior." American Political Science Review. Vol. 46, Iss. 4 (1952): pp. 1003-1045.

Harrison, Lisa. Political Research: An Introduction. New York: Routledge, 2001.

Johnson, Janet B., Richard A. Joslyn, and H.T. Reynolds. Political Science Research Methods. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2001.

Maxwell, Joseph A. "Designing a Qualitative Study." Handbook of Applied Social Research Methods. Ed. Bickman, Leonard, and Debra J. Rog. London: Sage Pub., 1998. p. 69-101.

Mill, John S. A System of Logic. Vol. 2, 10th ed. London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1879.

Schwartz-Shea, and Peregrine, Dvora Yanow. ""Reading" "methods" "texts": How research methods texts construct political science." Political Research Quarterly. Salt Lake City: Vol. 55, Iss. 5 (2002): pp. 457-487.

Seale, Clive. Ed. Researching Society and Culture. London: Sage Pub., 1998.

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