Quantitative/Qualitative: The Paleozoic Debate


  • Javier Bassi Follari Universidad de Chile




qualitative/quantitative debate, qualitative research, quantitative research, paradigms


In this article, I analyze the distinctions between quantitative and qualitative methods of research and the debates derived from them. I discuss the theoretical proposals of authors that 1. consider methods complementary, 2. deem the limit artificial, 3. argue that what is relevant is to sort between epistemological frameworks or between a critical or an uncritical use of such methods, and  4. consider  attacks on positivism outdated given that qualitative research methods already dominate  in many contexts. From post-Frankfurt School and Latin American critical approaches, I argue that research practices—either based on quantitative or qualitative methods—often derive from a self-centered and elitist conception and praxis of social science: those "being researched" do not take part in the configuration of the object of inquiry and rarely enjoy the benefits of the results of research projects they participate in. I conclude that the aforementioned distinctions and debates are useless, obsolete, and unjustified (even though they are reproduced and reified through academic teaching practices). I argue that the only relevant distinction is between research projects—not between methods—either aimed at social change or its obstruction. Finally, I present methods of research—as action research and systematization of practices—that defy the hegemonic conception and praxis of social science.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs140279


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Author Biography

Javier Bassi Follari, Universidad de Chile

Javier BASSI FOLLARI es psicólogo por la Universidad de San Luis (Argentina, 2000) y doctor en psicología social por la Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (España, 2008). Reside en Chile desde 2009 y es docente en la Universidad de Chile y en la Universidad Nacional Andrés Bello. Imparte asignaturas vinculadas a la epistemología y sociología de las ciencias, el diseño de proyectos de investigación y las metodologías cualitativas.



How to Cite

Bassi Follari, J. (2014). Quantitative/Qualitative: The Paleozoic Debate. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 15(2). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-15.2.1993



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