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Getting Over the Quantitative-Qualitative Debate

Publisher: American Journal of Education, 100 (2)
Page Numbers: 236-256

The quantitative-qualitative debate has been unfolding for several decades now and has evolved from one about the incompatibility of quantitative and qualitative techniques and procedures to one about the incompatibility of the more fundamental epistemological assumptions of quantitative and qualitative (positivist and interpretivist) "paradigms." Employing arguments from the philosophy of social science and social research theory, this article seeks both to widen the scope of the paradigms debate -- to include perspectives on human nature and on the relationship between theory and practice -- and to dismiss both the positivist and interpretivist paradigms in favor of the "critical educational research model." The article also provides several examples that illustrate this approach to educational research.