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Qualitative And Mixed-Methods Research In Economics: Surprising Growth, Promising Future

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  • Martha A. Starr

Abstract

Qualitative research in economics has traditionally been unimportant compared to quantitative work. Yet there has been a small explosion in use of quantitative approaches in the past 10–15 years, including ‘mixed-methods’ projects which use qualitative and quantitative methods in combination. This paper surveys the growing use of qualitative methods in economics and closely related fields, aiming to provide economists with a useful roadmap through major sets of qualitative methods and how and why they are used. We review the growing body of economic research using qualitative approaches, emphasizing the gains from using qualitative- or mixed-methods over traditional ‘closed-ended’ approaches. It is argued that, although qualitative methods are often portrayed as less reliable, less accurate, less powerful and/or less credible than quantitative methods, in fact, the two sets of methods have their own strengths, and how much can be learned from one type of method or the other depends on specific issues that arise in studying the topic of interest. The central message of the paper is that well-done qualitative work can provide scientifically valuable and intellectually helpful ways of adding to the stock of economic knowledge, especially when applied to research questions for which they are well suited.

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  • Martha A. Starr, 2014. "Qualitative And Mixed-Methods Research In Economics: Surprising Growth, Promising Future," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(2), pages 238-264, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jecsur:v:28:y:2014:i:2:p:238-264
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/joes.12004
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    2. Gawlik, Remigiusz, 2015. "Zastosowanie jakościowych metod badawczych w naukach ekonomicznych - możliwości i perspektywy w warunkach globalizacji i regionalizacji gospodarki światowej i europejskiej
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    3. Stekler, Herman & Symington, Hilary, 2016. "Evaluating qualitative forecasts: The FOMC minutes, 2006–2010," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 559-570.
    4. Wagemann, Claudius & Buche, Jonas & Siewert, Markus B., 2016. "QCA and business research: Work in progress or a consolidated agenda?," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(7), pages 2531-2540.
    5. Gabriel Mathy & Herman O. Stekler, 2016. "Expectations and Forecasting during the Great Depression: Real-Time Evidence from the Business Press," Working Papers 2016-011, The George Washington University, Department of Economics, Research Program on Forecasting.
    6. Grafeld, Shanna & Oleson, Kirsten & Barnes, Michele & Peng, Marcus & Chan, Catherine & Weijerman, Mariska, 2016. "Divers' willingness to pay for improved coral reef conditions in Guam: An untapped source of funding for management and conservation?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 202-213.
    7. Juan, Parra, 2017. "¿Qué Funciona, Para Quién, En Qué Aspectos, Hasta Qué Punto, En Qué Contexto Y Cómo? Una Introducción A La Evaluación Realista Y Sus Métodos
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    9. Herman O. Stekler & Hilary Symington, 2014. "How Did The Fomc View The Great Recession As It Was Happening?: Evaluating The Minutes From Fomc Meetings, 2006-2010," Working Papers 2014-005, The George Washington University, Department of Economics, Research Program on Forecasting.
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