Journal of Social Science for Policy Implications, 1(1), pp. 01-13.
The purpose of this research is to explore a complexity science paradigm shift, as it relates tothe role, relationship, and methodological implications of complexity in qualitative policy research. The study investigated whether and how each of the major qualitative methods encompasses complexity. To better understand the role of complexity science in policy research, this exploratory case study investigated the differences, similarities, and synergies between qualitative paradigms and a complexity paradigm, by means of a tabular side-by-side comparison. The study found a majority of the qualitative inquiry strategies used for interpretation and analysis in policy research matched the elemental structures and functions of complexity. Yet the qualitative methods did not account fully for complexity. This investigation found a complexity paradigm can augment, supplement, subsume, and improve research in policy, if effectively applied. Additionally, complexity can be triangulated into qualitative inquiry as theory, data, and methodology. Finally, complexity provides a unique context in which to think about policy problems, interpret results, and answer research questions in new ways. This research puts forth foundational arguments that, a complexity science paradigm provides valuable theory and systematic methods for policy research, when conducting qualitative inquiry. This allows for capturing more complexity than with solely traditional research tools. A researcher’s goal may not be to capture more complexity. Yet further research is warranted to define and develop the appropriate role of complexity science in qualitative inquiry research in policy.
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Johnson, Liz. (2013). Applying Complexity to Qualitative Policy Research: An Exploratory Case Study. Journal of Social Science for Policy Implications, 1(1), pp. 01-13.
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