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Bridging the Qualitative-Quantitative Divide: Strategies for Building Large-N Databases Based on Qualitative Research

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Poteete, Amy; Ostrom, Elinor
Conference: 101st Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association
Location: Washington, DC
Conf. Date: September 1-4
Date: 2005
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/5890
Sector: Forestry
General & Multiple Resources
Subject(s): research--methodology
data analysis
common pool resources--research
collective action--research
Abstract: "The trade-offs between qualitative and quantitative research methods are well known. Qualitative research promises high internal validity and the ability to disentangle causal processes. Given the costs of conducting in-depth research, however, it is difficult to obtain the large number of qualitative observations required to establish external validity. We elaborate upon these challenges and discuss the relative merits and shortcomings of three strategies for building large-N databases using qualitative research: large-N field-based studies conducted by one or a few researchers, meta-databases constructed from existing qualitative studies, and large-N field-based studies conducted by research networks. Examples are drawn from research on collective action to manage natural resources."

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