Researching cultural capital: Complexities in mixing methods

Silva, Elizabeth B. and Wright, David (2008). Researching cultural capital: Complexities in mixing methods. Methodological Innovations Online, 2(3)



This paper reflects on the relationships between methods and meaning-making in social research. It focuses on two core issues: (1) the problems with the generation of data inherent in quantitative and qualitative methods themselves, accentuated and revealed by processes of mixing them, and (2) the implications of the asymmetrical relationship between research categories used and the lived experience of the investigation. These foci inform an exploration of the processes of the construction of the research object, as implied in the work of Pierre Bourdieu, and of more recent concerns about how research makes sense of the complexity of social worlds within social sciences. The paper engages with empirical and theoretical aspects of researching cultural capital in contemporary Britain, as part of the Cultural Capital and Social Exclusion project, a large scale, mixed-method empirical inquiry into the nature of cultural capital in the UK.

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