Journal article Open Access
Researchers have long argued that quantitative and qualitative methods are distinct and, therefore, serve different analytical purposes. Quantitative methods tend to be associated with large-N analysis and systematic theory testing, while qualitative methods are believed to provide thick accounts of one or few cases. However, in recent years, a pair of interconnected processes has reshaped the quantitative-qualitative divide in political science. Not only is our discipline in the middle of a mixed methods boom, but that trend is also being bolstered by innovations to the very methods used in mixed methods scholarship. These two processes raise pragmatic questions about what counts as mixed methods research, and even more fundamentally about its best practices. Therefore, political scientists are prompted to reconsider the qualitative-quantitative divide, especially as the meaning of these two labels continues to evolve. Doubtlessly, sound methodological advice depends on a proper understanding of what separates these two research traditions.