A Tale of Two Cultures

Qualitative and Quantitative Research in the Social Sciences

by Gary Goertz, James Mahoney

Some in the social sciences argue that the same logic applies to both qualitative and quantitative methods. In A Tale of Two Cultures, Gary Goertz and James Mahoney demonstrate that these two paradigms constitute different cultures, each internally coherent yet marked by contrasting norms, practices, and toolkits. They identify and discuss major differences between these two traditions that touch nearly every aspect of social science research, including design, goals, causal effects and models, concepts and measurement, data analysis, and case selection. Although focused on the differences between qualitative and quantitative research, Goertz and Mahoney also seek to promote toleration, exchange, and learning by enabling scholars to think beyond their own culture and see an alternative scientific worldview. This book is written in an easily accessible style and features a host of real-world examples to illustrate methodological points.

  • Princeton University Press; September 2012
  • ISBN: 9781400845446
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure ePub format
  • Title: A Tale of Two Cultures
  • Author: Gary Goertz; James Mahoney
  • Imprint: Princeton University Press

In The Press

"Goertz and Mahoney draw out for readers why the contrasting approaches to social science are appropriate given the overall goals and assumptions of the two paradigms, and then enable readers from both sides to see the alternative perspective and reconsider their own approach and goals. A Tale of Two Cultures offers a clear challenge to the fundamentals of how we do research."—Janet Box-Steffensmeier, Ohio State University

About The Author

Gary Goertz is professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame. His books include Social Science Concepts: A User's Guide (Princeton). James Mahoney is the Fitzgerald Professor of Economic History and professor of political science and sociology at Northwestern University. His books include Colonialism and Postcolonial Development: Spanish America in Comparative Perspective.