Quantitative and qualitative methods in organizational research

Edmondson, A and Zuzul, T (2014) Quantitative and qualitative methods in organizational research. In: The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Strategic Management. Palgrave.


Blending quantitative and qualitative methods is an approach to studying organizational phenomena that seeks to leverage the strengths and compensate for the weaknesses of each method that is used separately. Notably, quantitative data offer greater objectivity and precision but lack richness, while qualitative data provide insight about mechanisms but bring subjectivity.

Selecting the appropriate method for a given research question is an essential skill for organizational researchers. High-quality research involves a good fit between the methods used and the nature of the contribution to the literature. This article describes a contingency framework that relates the state of prior theory and research to the design of a current research project, paying particular attention to when to mix qualitative and quantitative data. Whereas contributions to mature literatures are best made with quantitative methods, and contribute to nascent literature’s call for qualitative data, intermediate research is best served by a mix of both approaches.

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Item Type: Book Section
Subject Areas: Strategy and Entrepreneurship
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© 2014 Palgrave Macmillan

Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2016 14:17
Subjects: R > Research methodology
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2021 15:44
URI: https://lbsresearch.london.edu/id/eprint/670

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