Qualitative research and public policy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


Over the past two decades, the use of qualitative research in the social sciences has increased signifi - cantly (Riehl 2001). Although quantitative methodologies remain the dominant paradigm in policy research and recent federal policy initiatives privileging experimental designs and randomized fi eld trials as the gold standard for evaluation research have bolstered its position, qualitative methods remain an important tool for policy researchers (Maxwell 2004; Chatterji 2005). The purpose of this chapter is to discuss the evolution of qualitative research, its strengths and weaknesses, how it differs from quantitative research, and its important contributions to public policy research, especially in educational research. Based upon this discussion, I will argue that qualitative research should be part of any mixed-method approach to policy research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Public Policy Analysis
Subtitle of host publicationTheory, Politics, and Methods
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781351564373
ISBN (Print)1574445618, 9781574445619
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)


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