Quality & Quantity

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 1237–1257 | Cite as

Qualitative/quantitative integration in the inductive observational study of interactive behaviour: impact of recording and coding among predominating perspectives

  • Pedro Sánchez-Algarra
  • M. Teresa Anguera


A strong dichotomy has traditionally been established between qualitative and quantitative approaches. This question has been the subject of intense debate from a methodological point of view, and in recent years there are clear signs that the conflict is being overcome; nevertheless, we are still some way from a genuine position of complementarity and integration, and the issue remains to be considered in the process of theorization along the tortuous path that leads from the particular to the general. The proposal in this article takes a further step forward as regards this question, this time with respect to the study of interactive behaviour. The key is once again the consideration of a “complete unit” of analysis, but the logic of the observational methodology process enables the perspectives to be sequenced: the study begins with a predominantly qualitative approach before subjecting the data to a given type of recording (through the important support of field formats) and coding (preferably computerized), thus producing a matrix of formally interchangeable data; finally, the criterion is reversed and the study continues under a predominantly quantitative perspective.


Qualitative/quantitative integration Qualitative approach Quantitative approach Observation study Interactive behaviour 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Statistics, Faculty of BiologyUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Methodology of Behavioral Sciences Department, Faculty of Psychology, IR3C Research InstituteUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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