The data-driven, multi-method life

Multi-method research involves some mixture of qualitative, quantitative, and game-theoretical approaches. As I was coming up in grad school, this was increasingly becoming the norm in my department, UC Berkeley. In my own research, I combined archival research with some quantitative analysis – in part of data that I had gathered through that archival research, in part of a dataset that I created based on existing qualitative work. The qualitative work set up the quantitative analysis: I developed concepts and a theoretical framework, and examined them in a case study involving multiple episodes over time in one country. Based on that examination, I identified ways to operationalize the concepts for a broader set of countries, gathered that data, and used it to test the theoretical framework across a set of Latin American countries. In that same chapter, I did three case vignettes, looking at how my theoretical framework applied or did not in three other Latin American countries.

This is one reason I think the “data-driven life” is of necessity a multi-method one. Conceptualization and measurement are closely tied, and while measurement is viewed as quantitative, conceptualization is intensely qualitative. It’s important to understand and be clear about the conceptual frameworks underlying measurement when doing evaluation in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors.


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One Response to “The data-driven, multi-method life”

  1. The Blog Briefly Known as "Democratizing Philanthropy?" » Blog Archive » The data-driven, multi-method, context-sensitive life Says:

    […] results if those assumptions are relaxed? The data-driven life is about more than just numbers; the data-driven, multi-method life has to be about context. […]

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