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Distinguishing between types of data and methods of collecting them

Listed author(s):
  • Hentschel, Jesko
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    The author examines the role of different data collection methods--including the types of data they produce--in the analysis of social phenomena in developing countries. He points out that one confusing factor in the"quantitative-qualitative"debate is that a distinction is not clearly made between methods of data collection used and types of data generated. He maintains the divide between quantitative and qualitative types of data but analyzes methods according to their"contextuality": the degree to which they try to understand human behavior in the social, cultural, economic, and political environment of a given place. He emphasizes that it is most fruitful to think of both methods and data as lying on a continuum stretching from more to less contextual methodology and from more to less qualitative data output. Using characteristic information needs for health planning derived from data on the use of health services, he shows that each combination of method (more or less contextual) and data (more or less qualitative) is a unique primary source that can fulfill different information requirements. He concludes that: 1) Certain information about health utilization can be obtained only through contextual methods--in which case strict statistical representability must give way to inductive conclusions, assessments of internal validity, and replicability of results. 2) Often contextual methods are needed to design appropriate noncontextual data collection tools. 3) Even where noncontextual data collection methods are needed, contextual methods can play an important role in assessing the validity of the results at the local level. 4) In cases where different data collection methods can be used to probe general results, the methods can--and need to be--formally linked.

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    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1914.

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    Date of creation: 30 Apr 1998
    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1914
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    1. Hammer, Jeffrey S, 1997. "Economic Analysis for Health Projects," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 12(1), pages 47-71, February.
    2. Hentschel, Jesko & Waters, William F. & Vandever Webb, Anna Kathryn, 1996. "Rural poverty in Ecuador : a qualitative assessment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1576, The World Bank.
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    4. Germano Mwabu & Martha Ainsworth & Andrew Nyamete, 1993. "Quality of Medical Care and Choice of Medical Treatment in Kenya: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(4), pages 838-862.
    5. Jayaraman, Rajshri & Lanjouw, Peter, 1999. "The Evolution of Poverty and Inequality in Indian Villages," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 14(1), pages 1-30, February.
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    8. Mwenesi, Halima & Harpham, Trudy & Snow, Robert W., 1995. "Child malaria treatment practices among mothers in Kenya," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 40(9), pages 1271-1277, May.
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    10. Litvack, Jennie I. & Bodart, Claude, 1993. "User fees plus quality equals improved access to health care: Results of a field experiment in Cameroon," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 369-383, August.
    11. Baum, Frances, 1995. "Researching public health: Behind the qualitative-quantitative methodological debate," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 459-468, February.
    12. Arhin, Dyna C., 1994. "The health card insurance scheme in Burundi: A social asset or a non-viable venture?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 861-870, September.
    13. Yach, Derek, 1992. "The use and value of qualitative methods in health research in developing countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 603-612, August.
    14. Larme, Anne C., 1997. "Health care allocation and selective neglect in rural Peru," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 44(11), pages 1711-1723, June.
    15. Lanjouw, Peter & Stern, Nicholas, 1991. "Poverty in Palanpur," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 5(1), pages 23-55, January.
    16. Jimenez, Emmanuel, 1986. "The Public Subsidization of Education and Health in Developing Countries: A Review of Equity and Efficiency," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 1(1), pages 111-129, January.
    17. Narayan, D., 1996. "Toward Participatory Research," Papers 307, World Bank - Technical Papers.
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