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Qualitative Versus Quantitative Methods and Beyond

Since the early 1980s, an important methodological debate—with complex epistemological underpinnings—has been taking place among educational researchers worldwide. At times lively and intemperate enough to be labeled as “the paradigm wars,” recently the heat has diminished and a (perhaps uneasy) truce is in effect. The dispute has focused on the merits, the demerits, and the purported incompatibility of qualitative and quantitative research methods; peacemakers have often suggested that both approaches have their place and that they can fruitfully be combined using mixed methods approaches to research. This entry provides an overview of the key issues that have been discussed.

Historical Antecedents

Debates about knowledge and truth, and how to attain them, have been a part of Western philosophy since ancient times; even then, several different epistemological schools ...

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