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Sociol Methodol. 2012 Aug;42(1):43.-76.

Illumination with a Dim Bulb? What do social scientists learn by employing qualitative data analysis software (QDAS) in the service of multi-method designs?

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1
Brown University.

Abstract

Although there has been much optimistic discussion of integrating quantitative and qualitative findings into sociological analysis, there remains a gap regarding the application of mixed approaches. We examine the potential gains and pitfalls of such integration in the context of the growing analytic power of contemporary qualitative data analysis software (QDAS) programs. We illustrate the issues with our own research in a mixed-methods project examining low fertility in Italy, a project that combines analysis of large nationally representative survey data with qualitative in-depth interviews with women across four (4) cities in Italy. Despite the enthusiasm for mixed-methods research, the available software appears to be underutilized. In addition, we suggest that the sociological research community will want to address several conceptual and inferential issues with these approaches.

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