WP108 Combining surveys and ethnographies in the study of rapid social change

Blommaert & van de Vijver
Collection: Key word


This short research note is intended to stimulate debates across disciplinary and methodological-traditional boundaries.? In what follows we will attempt to sketch a broad methodological platform on which two very different methodological frameworks will be joined: ethnography and survey research.? Many would see these two approaches as the extreme poles of a continuum of scientific methodology. The former one would be the archetypal ?qualitative? kind of research, focused on intersubjective small-scale interpretive work.? The latter would be the archetypal ?quantitative? approach based on an analytical distancing of researcher and object, standardized procedures and statistical factual outcomes. Their non-compatibility is often taken for granted.? But while both of us are profoundly committed practitioners of our respective disciplines, we believe that exploring differences and similarities between these frameworks can be highly productive.? We share an object of enquiry – humans in society and culture – and this object is changing fast.? An object as complex as this surely tolerates multiple and very different views which, together, might perhaps bring us closer to a comprehensive picture.