Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Subject: LCSH

Strategy, Military strategy


Criminology and Criminal Justice | Defense and Security Studies | Political Science


(from book introduction, pp. 6-7) Schmidt argues that the culture of the military is predominately quantitative, however, a qualitative mindset is likely more congruent with strategic thinking. He describes the differences between quantitative and qualitative approaches, research questions, and thought processes. Schmidt argues that quantitative methods are appropriate for tactical engagements and can inform strategic thinking, but a completely different thought process (i.e., qualitative) is Introduction 7 necessary for success when asking questions with strategic implications. Schmidt also discusses how time delays can affect the perceived impact of qualitative modes of thinking. There are a multitude of relevant variables in a situation with strategic implications, yet those variables are frequently difficult to measure and the effects of action taken may not manifest for a considerable amount of time. Schmidt argues that the Army needs to embrace qualitative modes for strategic thinking and determine appropriate ways to measure the effectiveness of qualitative work.


Book may be downloaded here. U.S. Government document. Approved for unlimited distribution.

Publisher Citation

Schmidt, Matthew J. A Science of Context: The Qualitative Approach as Fundamental to Strategic Thought. In Wolters, Heather M, Grome, Anna P, & Hinds, Ryan M. (2013). Exploring Strategic Thinking: Insights to Assess, Develop, and Retain Strategic Thinkers. Fairborn, OH: Applied Research Associates Inc., pp. 220-230.



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