Analyzing Social Capital in Context: A Guide to Using Qualitative Methods and Data

This paper from the World Bank Institute outlines a variety of qualitative analysis methods and tools that can be used in social capital research.

"It is usually best to integrate quantitative and qualitative methods in social science research, especially when investigating social capital. Because this is not always possible in practice, it is all the more important that researchers understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of each method. To help researchers understand these trade-offs, this guide briefly:

  • explains the value of an integrated approach to social capital research, highlighting participatory and other qualitative techniques;
  • demonstrates how social capital research can have practical implications for projects and policies that, in turn, can lead to better development outcomes;
  • offers specific guidance on how to apply qualitative methods to understanding six dimensions of social capital;
  • highlights potential pitfalls of qualitative tools, based on actual field experience;
  • identifies additional resources on qualitative approaches that can help researchers fine-tune research methods; and
  • encourages task managers and their country counterparts to engage in the design of social capital research." (Dudwick, Kuehnast, Nyhan Jones & Woolcock, 2006)


  • Foreword
  • Acknowledgements
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Qualitative methods that contribute to the study of social capital
  • Applying social capital research to development policies and projects
  • Overview of qualitative tools used in social captial research
  • Applying qualitative tools to the six dimensions of social capital
  • Team preparation and data collection
  • Analyzing qualitative data
  • Conclusion
  • References


Dudwick, N., Kuehnast, K., Nyhan Jones, V., & Woolcock, M. World Bank Institute, (2006). Analyzing social capital in context: A guide to using qualitative methods and data. Retrieved from website:


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