Mixing Methods in Fertility Research
Fertility research in population geography is rooted in a spatial demography tradition which places emphasis on the use of quantitative methodologies to analyse, model and project fertility. As data sources have become more sophisticated and abundant some have questioned whether research within the discipline is now too data-oriented resulting in a reluctance to embrace new methods and concepts. Alternative conceptualisations of fertility and reproduction are outlined which represent a shift away from general explanation to more differentiated understandings of reproductive behaviour and favour the use of qualitative methodologies in combination or in a multi-level framework. The paper illustrates, with reference to a research project in the Kalahari of Botswana, the potential for methodological pluralism in the study of fertility.
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