Designing Social Inquiry:Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research

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At a moment when acute disagreement among scholars over the appropriateness of qualitative and quantitative research methods threatens to undermine the validity and coherence of the social sciences, Gary King, Robert Keohane and Sidney Verba have written a timely and farsighted book that develops a unified approach to valid descriptive and causal inference. They illuminate the logic of good quantitative and good qualitative research designs and demonstrate that the two do not fundamentally differ. Designing Social Inquiry focuses on improving qualitative research, where numerical measurement is either impossible or undesirable. What are the right questions to ask? How should you define and make inferences about causal effects? How can you avoid bias? How many cases do you need, and how should they be selected? What are the consequences of unavoidable problems in qualitative research, such as measurement error, incomplete information, or omitted variables? What are proper ways to estimate and report the uncertainty of your conclusions? How would you know if you were wrong?
Publication Date: 
May 22, 1994