"can never do" = always implying qualitative judgement?

Why Not?

Senior Member
Hi All,

my question refers to the following sentence:

This essay will assess the claim that "qualitative research gives access to the true perspectives of people in a way that quantitative research can never do".

Question: does 'can never do' ALWAYS imply a qualitative judgement of superiority, or may it simply mean something like 'in a different way than' (in the above case: of quantitative research, by the way)?

Thank you in anticipation,

Why Not?
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    Can never do may be a subjective judgment of superiority or of inferiority, or it may be
    an objective statement. Context determines which it is.

    A boulder can never do the work of a clockmaker.
    That doesn't imply superiority or inferiority. It states a factual difference.

    Your sample sentence may be the author''s judgment that qualitative research has some
    greater ability than quantitative research, but there is no reason to assume that this particular
    use of the "can never do" is always used in such a subjective way.
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