Much of the analysis of fairy tales to this point has been conducted by therapists, or psycho-analysts who know very little about exact social meanings and perhaps even less about history. For this reason many of the claimed ideas about fairy tales have been outrageous in their scope and silly in their thinking and methodology.
There are of course many who study fairy tales who have made good points about them, from Feminist Theorists to Folklorists and Historians many people have added greatly to our understanding fairy tales and their impact on our and cultures and what they mean for our understanding of ancient peoples. Such theories in general however have seemed to focus on the fairy tales of a single region in order to determine the meaning of the fairy tales from that region. Or the ideas have jumped between locations pointing out like stories in two areas to prove some grand point about a story motif in general. While such research has its use it also has its limits, for knowing that a certain culture has an affinity for trickster characters tells us little about whether this is a common motif, or one unique to that culture. By the same token knowing that many cultures have such trickster stories tells us very little about the value system of a group as compared to another, and just as importantly how their stories compared to ours. For it is through studying the differences between us that we will understand how they differed from us and how similar they where to us. It this way we will gain a better basis for understanding exactly what they thought and what was taking place.
Such cross cultural studies are systematic, involving metrics to measure and compare two aspects of a culture, in the case of fairy tales this would be percentages of different plotlines, characters, and other elements present in the fairy tales or popular stories of each culture. In this way we would come to understand the differences within each culture, and the similarities as will. It is possible through and only through such comparisons to find patterns and ideas that move across all cultures, sort of universal or nearly universal social ideas of humanity.
Obviously there maybe no way to use such analysis as qualitatively as may be necessary to fully understand stories and the richness of human culture. However there has been and still is a lot of qualitative analysis regarding fairy tales and so such quantitative measures of the fairy tale and the cultures behind them would not be the sole method for understanding, rather it would be a tool which those attempting to understand fairy tales and culture could use to get a better grasp of the thinking of the people behind the fairy tales, how we have changed today, and how fairy tales are likely to impact us now.