Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Qualitative Data, Quantitative Analysis

Pacey Foster (soon to be professor in the School of Management at UMASS Boston) points me to this essay by H Russell Bernard, "Qualitative Data, Quantitative Analysis." It presents a balanced overview that takes the qualitative vs quantitative discussion into separate dimensions of data and analysis. So instead of provoking an argument that pure number-crunching cannot completely describe multi-cultural organizational effectiveness (as I did yesterday), Bernard invites consideration of the following two by two matrix:
What does this mean for analyzers of social networks? We work in all four cells. In my experience we tend to move through them roughly in sequence:The only real beef I have with Bernard's discussion is where he says, "strictly speaking, there is no such thing as quantitative analysis of qualitative data." Since he wrote the essay in 1993, before the "digital revolution," I will let him off the hook for suggesting such an impermeable boundary between these two.

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1 comment:

Enio Velazco said...

Bruce --

Obviously, you also meant to indicate that the 4th step in the second graphic provides feedback for another 1st step (thus allowing ONA-ers a chance to do their craft all over again).