There is a germane relationship between qualitative and quantitative approaches to social science research. The relationship is empirically and theoretically demonstrated by poverty researchers. The study of poverty, as argued in this article, is a study of both numbers and contextualities. This article provides a general overview of qualitative and quantitative approaches to poverty studies and argues that only a combination of the two approaches, where necessary, would provide a robust, rich and reliable data for researching issues of poverty. Hence, the contemporary drive towards a mixed methods approach in poverty research is not only welcomed but certainly timely as well. Thus, understanding ontological and epistemological paradigms about social sciences is imperative in dousing such tensions.


Qualitative Research, Quantitative Research, Mixed Method Approach, Philosophical Assumptions


An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Annual Research Training Workshop for Graduate Students, Damina School on the Theme, Poverty: The Most Challenging of the Millennium Development Goals in Nigeria, organised by Centre for Research and Documentation, Kano, held at Aminu Kano Centre for Research and Training, Mambayya House, Gwammaja, Kano, Nigeria, 19th–30th September, 2010. I’m highly indebted to the reviewers for their insightful comments and suggestions, which further enriched the quality of this paper. I’m also particularly grateful to Hauwakulu M. Dantake for her moral support and encouragement.

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