Qualitative Political Communication| Introduction ~ The Role of Qualitative Methods in Political Communication Research: Past, Present, and Future

David Karpf, Daniel Kreiss, Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, Matthew Powers


This article makes the case for a new era of qualitative research to contribute to the study of political communication at a time of rapid media change. We detail the history of a tradition of mixed-methods research in the United States from the 1920s to the 1960s, and chart the rise of the currently dominant quantitative methodological consensus from the 1970s onward. We examine key works within this older tradition of mixed-methods research for examples of how scholars used field research and other qualitative methods to build theory and analyze social life. We conclude with a discussion of the ways qualitative research, including the articles in this special section, can complement quantitative work and advance the field of political communication.


political communication, qualitative research methods

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