Quantitative Methods in Public Administration: their use and development through time

SM (Sandra) Groeneveld, LG Tummers, Babette Bronkhorst, TS (Tanachia) Ashikali, Sandra van Thiel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


This article aims to contribute to recent debates on research methods in public administration by examining the use of quantitative methods in public administration research. We analyzed 1,605 articles published between 2001-2010 in four leading journals: JPART, PAR, Governance and PA. Results show that whereas qualitative methods are still predominant compared to quantitative methods (56 versus 44 percent), the field is becoming increasingly quantitative. Of quantitative methods used, surveys are most dominant, while a combination of methods is used far less often. In general, very few studies use a mixed methods design. As to the areas of research, we found that the use of quantitative methods is unequally distributed; some subfields (public management) use quantitative methods more often than others (policy and politics), and some journals (JPART, PA) publish articles on quantitative research more than others (Governance). Implications for public administration research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-86
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Public Management Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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