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The Grounded Type of Sociological Theory

Some Methodological Reflections

Igor Hanzel

The book analyzes the methods used in the construction of the grounded type of sociological theory. It provides an overview of examples of qualitative research which are used for delineating the principal characteristics of methods employed in the construction of the grounded type of theory. Subject to explication are the characteristics of concepts, categories, and properties of categories employed in this type of theory, as well as the main steps involved in the construction of a grounded type of theory. These steps are explicated by applying the modern logical and methodological treatment of induction, deduction, and abduction.

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6. Beyond the Quantitative-Qualitative Divide: From Category to Magnitude


6. Beyond the Quantitative-Qualitative Divide: From Category to Magnitude

In the concluding part of my study I try to resolve the dispute between the representatives of the so-called qualitative and quantitative approaches sociology.

The opposition between the qualitative and quantitative approaches in sociology was succinctly characterized by E. G. Guba as follows: “The one precludes the other just as surely as belief in a round world precludes believing in a flat one” (1987, 31).

J. Morse delineated this opposition as follows (1995, 148):

The quantity of data in a category is not theoretically important to the process of saturation. Richness of data is derived from detailed description, not the number of times something is stated. Frequency counts are out … Further it is this process that is the most confusing to new investigators, because in quantitative methods the signification of numbers is carefully taught, and statistical significance is based on frequencies, averages, and the distribution of data. Frequency is central to the analysis, and if a particular instance is too abhorrent, it may be even deleted from the data as an “outlier” or an error. On the other hand, in qualitative analysis, the converse is true. It is often the infrequent gem that puts other data into perspective, that becomes the central key to understanding the data and for developing the model.

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