One might argue that political science has gone further than any other social science in developing a rigorous field of study devoted to qualitative methods. This review article begins by discussing the time-honored qualitative/quantitative distinction. What is qualitative data and analysis, and how does it differ from quantitative data and analysis? I propose a narrow definition of “qualitative” and explore its implications. I also explore in a speculative vein some of the factors underlying the ongoing between scholars who identify with quantitative and qualitative approaches to social science. In the remainder of the article I discuss areas of qualitative research that have been especially fecund over the past decade. These include case selection, causal inference, and multimethod research.


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