just some thoughts regarding the threads where there
have been comments regarding qualitative and quantitative
approaches. actually, they constitute a plea.
discussing the competitive merits of qualitative analyses
versus quantitative analyses seems a waste of precious time.
my sense is that we need to find a synthesis of these approaches
and the kinds of knowledge they appear to generate. i suspect
that self-consciously identifying qualitative folk tend to under-estimate
the difficulties of quantitative work and that the self-identifying
quantitative folk underestimate the difficulties of doing rigorous
qualitative analyses. Setting these approaches up as rivals is
problematic and counter-productive.
if the syntheses can be done by individuals doing both types of
work this is terrific. but it can also be done by people who tend to
approach network data differently but who attemp to work together.
- or are willing to listen to each other without trying to protect a
domain against rivals. (also, the role of mathematics is not bound up
in the distinction between the qualitative and the quantitative.) so
this is a plea for mutual tolerance followed by genuine engagement.
please note that i do not think this is not happening. clearly, it is. but
i also think it would be better if we devote our time to forging such
syntheses rather that trumpet one approach over the other.