The difficulties that arise in reaching consensus between different disciplines and research cultures over epistemological positions in comparative research, the choice of comparators and the variables selected present serious challenges for international teams embarking on comparative studies across national, societal and cultural boundaries. Despite scepticism about the extent to which ‘a neat correspondence’ can be established between ‘epistemological positions… and associated techniques…of social research’ (Bryman, 1984: 75), traditionally certain epistemologies have come to be closely associated with specific methodological approaches. Although the dividing line between different research strategies has become increasingly porous and blurred, the links between epistemology, methodology and methods continue to be analysed in terms of the broad distinctions that are often drawn between quantitative and qualitative approaches.
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