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4. Comparing Societies: Quantitative Methods

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Chapter Summary

Comparing societies quantitatively can be found in areas as diverse as macro and micro economics, religion, education, values, health, tourism, demography, linguistics, politics and many more. Individuals can only be observed if one can identify their boundaries. These boundaries allow distinction between individuals and their environment. Comparing societies assumes that the homogeneity within each society is larger than that across societies. While the number of applications of quantitative comparison appears to be infinite, the number of quantitative methods is, in contrast, quite finite. One can actually identify two broad methodological approaches as the two top level approaches in comparative societal research: micro level and macro level research. Micro level comparison uses measurements/data such as individuals' monthly income, health status, businesses' politics, media content, and so on. Comparative social surveys take advantage of macro level data such as national gross domestic product (GDP) and event data.

Keywords: macro level research; micro level comparison; quantitative societal comparison; social surveys



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