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Comparing, Contextualizing, and Conceptualizing


  • FFF1Enid NNN1Schatz

    (University of Missouri)


Demographic research mainly focuses on objective variables found in census and survey data. As demographers' interests expand to socially constructed phenomena, the discipline needs to incorporate new tools appropriate for understanding more subjective phenomena. The integration of quantitative and qualitative methods provides the opportunity to analyze data both rich in local meaning and generalizable beyond a small "N." This type of triangulation is particularly necessary in the study of women's situation, an area where quantitative results have generally confounded demographers. Using survey and ethnographic data, this paper demonstrates ways in which qualitative data complements quantitative data on women's situation. I argue that such an iterative methodological process can enrich future investigations in this area by comparing findings, contextualizing quantitative results, and improving the conceptualization of future quantitative measures.

Suggested Citation

  • FFF1Enid NNN1Schatz, 2003. "Comparing, Contextualizing, and Conceptualizing," Demographic Research Special Collections, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 1(5), pages 143-174, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:drspec:v:1:y:2003:i:5

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jere Behrman & Hans-Peter Kohler & Susan Watkins, 2002. "Social networks and changes in contraceptive use over time: Evidence from a longitudinal study in rural Kenya," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 39(4), pages 713-738, November.
    2. Shireen J. Jejeebhoy & Zeba A. Sathar, 2001. "Women's Autonomy in India and Pakistan: The Influence of Religion and Region," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 27(4), pages 687-712.
    3. Hans-Peter Kohler & Jere R. Behrman & Susan Cotts Watkins, 1999. "The structure of social networks and fertility decisions: evidence from S. Nyanza District, Kenya," MPIDR Working Papers WP-1999-005, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    4. Susan Watkins, 1993. "If all we knew about women was what we read in Demography, what would we know?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 30(4), pages 551-577, November.
    5. Hans-Peter Kohler & Jere Behrman & Susan Watkins, 2001. "The density of social networks and fertility decisions: evidence from south nyanza district, kenya," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 38(1), pages 43-58, February.
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    More about this item


    Africa; gender; Malawi; measurement; measurements; qualitative methods;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General


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