Article

Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Methods

James D. Fearon and David D. Laitin

in The Oxford Handbook of Political Methodology

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780199286546
Published online September 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199286546.003.0033

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Political Science

Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Methods

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  • Comparative Politics
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This article describes how qualitative and quantitative tools can be used jointly to strengthen causal inference. It first outlines the findings of statistical analysis of civil war onsets. It then addresses the different criteria for choosing which narratives to tell. A method for structuring narratives that is complementary to the statistical work is reported. Next, the article shows in light of narrative findings the incompleteness of the statistical models that are initially ran. One narrative is emphasized as an example of its potential yield. It underlines some surprises and advantages of the random narrative approach. There are general lessons as well to be learned from the random narrative exercise. The random narrative method allows the assessment of measurement error for variables that are hard to code reliably across large numbers of cases.

Keywords: causal inference; civil war; statistical analysis; statistical models; random narrative approach; measurement error

Article.  9803 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Political Methodology

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