Measuring Empowerment: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives

By Deepa Narayan | Go to book overview

Chapter 13
Mixing Qualitative and
Econometric Methods:
Community-Level
Applications

Vijayendra Rao and Michael Woolcock

Integrating qualitative and quantitative approaches in the measurement of empowerment can help yield insights that neither approach would produce on its own. In assessing the impact of programs and policies designed to empower the poor, researchers should recognize that both quantitative and qualitative methods have some important limitations when used in isolation, and that some of these can be overcome by incorporating complementary approaches. This chapter examines the strengths and weaknesses of orthodox stand-alone quantitative and qualitative approaches and proposes a basic framework for integrating them. It illustrates this with practical examples of using “mixedmethods” approaches in the measurement of empowerment at the community level in diverse settings.


Assessing the Merits of Quantitative
and Qualitative Approaches

The advantages of quantitative methods for measuring program effectiveness in general, and empowerment in particular, are well known. Used properly, they permit generalizations to be made about large populations on the basis of much smaller (representative) samples. Given a set of identifying conditions, they can help establish the causality of the impact of given variables on project outcomes. In principle, they also allow other researchers to validate the original findings by independently replicating the analysis. Quantitative

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