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Mixing Methods: A Bayesian Approach

  • MACARTAN HUMPHREYS (a1) and ALAN M. JACOBS (a2)
Abstract

We develop an approach to multimethod research that generates joint learning from quantitative and qualitative evidence. The framework—Bayesian integration of quantitative and qualitative data (BIQQ)—allows researchers to draw causal inferences from combinations of correlational (cross-case) and process-level (within-case) observations, given prior beliefs about causal effects, assignment propensities, and the informativeness of different kinds of causal-process evidence. In addition to posterior estimates of causal effects, the framework yields updating on the analytical assumptions underlying correlational analysis and process tracing. We illustrate the BIQQ approach with two applications to substantive issues that have received significant quantitative and qualitative treatment in political science: the origins of electoral systems and the causes of civil war. Finally, we demonstrate how the framework can yield guidance on multimethod research design, presenting results on the optimal combinations of qualitative and quantitative data collection under different research conditions.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Macartan Humphreys is Professor, Department of Political Science, Columbia University, New York (mh2245@columbia.edu).
Alan M. Jacobs is Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada (alan.jacobs@ubc.ca).
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American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
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