Adopting multiple methods in economic geography research: The example of a trade show study

Authors: Liang-Chih Chen*, National Taiwan University, Ming-Cheng Chang, National Taiwan University
Topics: Economic Geography, Qualitative Research, Qualitative Methods
Keywords: qualitative research method, quantitative research method, multiple research methods, trade shows, economic geography
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Jefferson, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The adoption of multiple-methods approach, such as the so-called mixed-methods, has been suggested by many scholars as one productive way to enhance the quality of social science research. In the field of economic geography, surprisingly, empirical studies employing such an approach seem sparse. To address the insufficiency, this paper reflects on the experiences of a research project that was to qualitatively study trade shows in Taiwan, and, at the same time, had strategically used some quantitative methods in its research design, data collection and data analysis process in order to address a broad question concerning trade show dynamics. Specifically, in this project researchers collected qualitative data through in-depth interviews and field observation for exploring the social mechanisms of learning and networking in the trade shows. They also further tried to quantify the qualitative finding by conducting complementary questionnaire surveys. Moreover, they sought to explore and determine the causal relationships between trade show participants’ networking activities and the outcomes with the assistance of certain quantitative analytical tools, such as the DEMATEL technique. In this paper, besides presenting the rationales behind and processes of adopting multiple methods in the research project, I particularly discuss issues in integrating quantitative methods into qualitative-based studies in economic geography research in general, and in trade show research in particular.

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