Contextuality and data collection methods: A framework and application to health service utilisation
This article examines the role of different data collection methods, including the data types they produce, in the analysis of social phenomena in developing countries. It points out that one of the confusing factors surrounding the quantitative-qualitative debate in the literature is that methods and data are not clearly separated. The article retains the qualitative/quantitative distinction pertaining to data types but analyses methods according to their contextuality, that is, to what degree they attempt to understand human behaviour within the social, cultural, economic and political environment of a locality. The framework is applied to characterise information needs for health planning derived from the utilisation of health services. Each combination of method (contextual/non-contextual) and data (quantitative/qualitative) is a primary and unique source to fulfil different information requirements. The article finds three roles contextual methods of data collection can play in generating information needs for understanding health utilisation patterns. It concludes with a brief discussion on how contextual and non-contextual methods can — and need to be - formally linked to understand more fully the comparative strengths of the different methods.
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Volume (Year): 35 (1999)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
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