Module 3: Mixing Qualitative and Quantitative Methods for Poverty Analysis
May 11-12, 2010
The World Bank
Objective: This course will briefly review the different types of methods used in qualitative and quantitative analysis and then explain the appropriateness and applicability of these methods. We will then go on to explore the costs and benefits of mixing qualitative and quantitative methods. Our perspective is that no one method is better than another but that a diverse menu of social science methods offer different ways of understanding and interpreting the “truth.” The important thing is to begin with the research question, and choose the mix of methods best suited to providing answers to it. We will emphasize the benefits and drawbacks of each method and how a judicious combination of methods has the ability to address the disadvantages of one with the advantages of another. Emphasis will be placed on design and sampling issues, and the precautions that should be taken with regard to drawing generalizable inferences from qualitative data. The course will be based on selected examples of studies that use these mixed methods to conduct analyses that are of relevance to poverty and inequality – such as poverty assessments and impact evaluations.
Hargreaves, James et al (2007). "Assigning Poverty Lines on the Basis of Local Perceptions of Poverty: A Quantitative Analysis of Qualitative Data from Participatory Wealth Ranking in Rural South Africa", World Development, Vol. 35, No. 2, pp. 212-229.
King, Gary, C. Murray, J. Salomon and A. Tandon (2004). "Enhancing the Validity and Cross-Cultural Comparability of Measurement in Survey Research." American Political Science Review, Vol. 98, No. 1. February 2004.
Mahoney, James (2000). "Strategies of Causal Inference in Small-N Analysis". Sociological Methods and Research, Vol. 28, No. 4, pp. 387-424.
Mahoney, James (2008). "Towards a Unified Theory of Causality". Comparative Political Studies, Vol. 41, No. 4/5, pp. 412-436.
Seawright, Jason and John Gerring (2008). "Case Selection Techniques in Case Study Research: A Menu of Qualitative and Quantitative Options." Political Research Quarterly, Vol. 61, No. 2, pp. 294-308.
Woolcock, Michael (forthcoming). "Toward a Plurality of Methods in Project Evaluation: A Contextualised Approach to Understanding Impact Trajectories and Efficacy". Journal of Development Effectiveness, Vol. 1, No. 1.