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Session Overview
RN20_08a_H: Combining Methods
Thursday, 31/Aug/2017:
6:00pm - 7:30pm

Session Chair: Gerben Moerman, University of Amsterdam
Location: HB.1.13
HAROKOPIO University 70 El. Venizelou Street 17671 Athens, Greece Building: B, Level: 1.

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Using Qualitative Methods to Unpack Emergent Phenomenon: Exploring the Complementary Use of fsQCA and Narrative Analysis

Jeremy Schulz1, Laura Robinson2

1UC Berkeley, United States of America; 2Santa Clara University, United States of America

This study provides methodological reflection on the grounding of qualitative research on two levels: 1) the use of formalized qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) and 2) the use of mixed methods highlighting traditional strengths of qualitative methods alongside emergent methodological opportunities. We show how both of these qualitative methodological approaches provide unique strengths opaque to quantitative approaches. To do so, the research examines how we linked qualitative data from original questionnaires and interviews to a novel analytic technique: Formalized qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA). The results show how these qualitative methodological approaches provide nuanced analysis maps multiple pathways to loan-aversion on the part of male and female high school students from a California high school. Formalized qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) techniques are employed alongside process-tracing with qualitative data to accomplish two analytical tasks: 1) distinguish distinctively female and male forms of prospective loan aversion and 2) explain how these types of loan aversion emerge. The fsQCA analysis is employed to identify three distinct near-sufficient pathways to loan aversion, the anticipatory pathway, the parental background pathway, and the borrowing experience pathway. Narratives from the interviews with the students who best exemplify each of these pathways are used to explore the generative processes behind them. These results are discussed as methodological exemplars to show how the use of qualitative methods sheds light on loan aversion arising from both gender-differentiated expectations about the future as well as gender-differentiated experiences in the past. This being said, presentation of findings is secondary to the larger (and primary) discussion of qualitative methods, their strengths, and their potential uses in tandem with one another, as well as emergent qualitative approaches.

Quantifying Qualitative Findings in the Imitation Game Method

Otto Erik Segersven, Ilkka Arminen, Mika Simonen

University of Helsinki, Finland

The Imitation Game is an experimental research method in which participants from two different groups, via computer mediated typed communication, with their own questions and answers, attempt to imitate one another’s social group as well as identify the imitating non-group members from genuine group members. The method – based on Alan Turing’s artificial intelligence experiments – was further developed by Harry Collins and his team for social scientific purposes.

The most common analysis of the data is quantitative and aims to inspect the distribution of interactional expertise - a knowledge referring to the individual’s capability to grasp the conceptual structure of another’s social world. The results are interpreted as illuminating how inclusive or exclusive social groups are and provide an analytical insight on the social group composition of societies.

Our preliminary qualitative work, however, has shown that different groups use different types of questioning strategies – questions and their assessments – making straightforward comparisons between groups or societal group compositions obsolete. Instead, we propose that imitation game experiments make visible interpretative practices of meaning making of group formation, revealing people’s methodical practices of building alignments between members of (different) groups, and in that way constructing social groups. In our current research, we aim to operationalize our qualitative analytical framework to quantitative purposes in the hopes of giving quantitative support to our initial findings.

A Survey in Parisian Public Baths. When Quantitative Data Lends Itself To Qualitative Analysis.

Géraldine Vivier, Françoise Courtel

National Institute for Demographic Studies, France

As a heritage from the hygienist movement which spread new norms of comfort and well-being from the late 19th century onwards, seventeen public baths remain in Paris today. They receive (free of charge and without restrictions) anyone who wants to have a shower, and especially people with no access to hot water and/or privacy (Lévy-Vroelant, 2016). Nevertheless, users and uses of public baths are little-known. Who goes to public baths, in which circumstances? What role do these amenities play in the city today? To answer these questions, a quantitative survey based on a random sample of users was tested in 2016. A self-administered questionnaire was designed, and translated into Arabic, Romanian and English to maximize participation. This test allowed to improve the survey protocol and paved the way for quantitative and qualitative analyses. In this presentation, we focus on the way the data (users’ flows, questionnaires) can be examined in a qualitative perspective as so many “snapshots” of the people who turn up (or not) at a given time in a given bathhouse, e.g. depending on origin or gender. Taking advantage of the self-administered questionnaire, we zoom in on Sudanese refugees who seized the opportunity to express themselves about their situation. Taken as an archive, in form and content, their questionnaires show the solidarity but also the heterogeneity of people sharing the same refugee status and living conditions in a makeshift camp in Paris. Thus, besides their hygienist vocation, public baths appear as “front-line amenities” for the most vulnerable.

Social network analysis: combining quantitative methods with qualitative approach

Daria Maltseva

Higher School of Economics, Russian Federation

Social network analysis was institutionalized and became widely known as a form of quantitative methodology, which uses different formal statistical and graph metrics to calculate the relationships between different actors (people, their groups or organizations) represented as networks [Wasserman, Faust, 1994]. At the same time, there is also a tradition of qualitative approach in social network analysis. Even though originally this approach was created in 50th by social anthropologists, its development took place in late 80-90th, together with the stream of "cultural turn" in sociology and the appearance of the field called "relational sociology" [Emirbayer, 1997; White, 2008; Hollstein, 2011].

The next possible direction of the social network analysis development is the integration of quantitative and qualitative approaches, which corresponds to the "mixed-methods strategy" of research. The main idea of this integration is to consider the "dual nature of social reality" by focusing both on network structures of relations and external contexts and internal individual meanings of these relations [Bidart, Cacciuttolo, 2013; Bolibar, 2015].

We study the structure of professional community of Soviet and Russian sociologists by means of network analysis of biographical interviews, using the integrative approach. In the presentation, we will present the model we use to combine the structural analysis of data with its qualitative characteristics, such as relational contexts, modality of ties and temporality.

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