Longitudinal Research and the Analysis of Social Change

Longitudinal Research and the Analysis of Social Change 220 ELISABETTA RUSPINI change can be greatly enhanced by making more extensive use of longitudinal data. Dynamic data are the necessary empirical basis for a new type of dynamic thinking about the processes of social change (Gershuny, 1998). The possibility of developing research on longitudinal data also builds a ‘bridge’ between ‘quantitative’ and ‘qualitative’ research traditions and enables re-shaping of the concepts of qualitative and quantitative research. The tendency to view the two research traditions as reflecting different epistemological positions and divergent paradigms has led to exaggeration of the differences between them. Con- sequently, quantitative and qualitative research are frequently depicted as mutually exclusive models of the social process. While qualitative research presents a process-oriented view of social life, limitations in the data have restricted many quantitative researchers to static, cross- sectional studies with only inference about process. Bryman (1988: 65–66) stated that there is an implicit longitudinal element built into much qualitative research: the general image that the qualitative researcher conveys about the social order is one of interconnection and change. Great emphasis is placed on social life as an interlocking series of events: this emphasis can be seen as a response to the qualitative researcher’s concern to http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Quality & Quantity Springer Journals

Longitudinal Research and the Analysis of Social Change

Quality & Quantity , Volume 33 (3) – Oct 19, 2004

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Kluwer Academic Publishers
Copyright © 1999 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
Social Sciences; Methodology of the Social Sciences; Social Sciences, general
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