The Qualitative-Quantitative ‘Disparities’ in Social Science Research: What Does Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) Brings in to Bridge the Gap?

  •  Orest S. Masue    
  •  Idda L. Swai    
  •  Mackfallen G. Anasel    


There are explicit methodological tensions among researchers in the qualitative and quantitative tracks of social science research. In this paper, (1) we highlight the tensions by making a comparison of the two traditions in terms of their ontological and epistemological paradigms, strengths and weaknesses. Then, (2) we examine the possibility of mediating the methodological tensions through the use of Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) methodology. Our conclusions are that (1) both qualitative and quantitative research traditions are equally scientific and relevant to the social science research, and so, choice can be made to use either of the two approaches or combine them depending on the nature and purpose of the study. We also argue (2) that although the attempt to resolve the qualitative- quantitative tensions through QCA methodology is promising, QCA should not be regarded as a competing but a complementary approach to the two.

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