February 11, 2008

Qualitative versus Quantitative Methods of Sociological Research: from Explanation to Understanding

The three hour lecture on "Qualitative versus Quantitative Methods of Sociological Research: from Explanation to Understanding" was conducted by Mr. Victor Voronkov, Director of the Center for Independent Social Research in St. Petersburg on February 8, 2008. The event attracted more than 40 participants from variety of organizations, such as Institute of New Sociological Research, Institute for Ethnography and Anthropology, American University of Armenia, APS Consulting, IREX, MCA Armenia, YSU, Japonica Intersect, Center of Evaluation and Testing, Ministry of Education and Science, ACDI VOCA and others.
The lecture touched upon the problems of the paradigm shift in social sciences, the qualitative vs. quantitative research, and the issue of power. While quantitative research has an advantage of having a higher level of scientific nature, Mr. Voronkov spoke very critically about quantitative research as a way of exploring social reality.

In particular he argued that (1) there is no social fact without its interpretation, (2) even in cases when quantitative methods are justified (i.e. marketing), one can interpret sociological survey anyhow they please.
You can find some of the publications of the Center for Independent Social Research here.

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