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The Best Laid Schemes: Lessons Learned when the Purposes and Research Questions Change in a Mixed-Method Study

Presentation to the Mixed Methods International Research Association, Boston College, June 2014

Theresa RF McKinney

on 27 February 2015

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Transcript of The Best Laid Schemes: Lessons Learned when the Purposes and Research Questions Change in a Mixed-Method Study

The Lines on Our Map
The Intended Research Plan
What really happened: A confluence of events
The Data We Collected
The purpose, rationale, and research questions for this study
have changed
three times
First, it was conceived as an explanatory study, but a series of difficult events disrupted survey data collection. The timing of the events made the questions addressed by the exploratory design less relevant.l

The study was reconceptualized as an instrument-development study. Then, because of external factors, survey items needed to be developed with only very preliminary analysis of interviews. Now, an new survey is underway, and the need for a instrument-development study is moot.

We continue to analyze the interview data guided by Spradley's Domain Analysis (1980) but the rationale for using MM is now unclear...
Lessons Learned
Planning is essential -- and so is acknowledging that the best laid plans can go awry

Doing mixed methods meaningfully is not for the faint-hearted

Our ability to take stock of our research context and respond to changes appropriately is enhanced by being methodologically kind and brave
Methodological kindness and bravery
Patience with research team members who bring different methodological, content, and personal experiences to our shared inquiry

Having respect for our team members and participants and being willing to extend ourselves to them, even when we're unsure about the outcome

Drawing on strength and courage to regard the situation as a context for opportunity -- not crisis -- and seek solutions that honor the magnitude of the gift our participants have given us
Thank you !
We welcome your questions + feedback

In kindness + bravery

Michelle Howell Smith
Theresa R.F. McKinney
Susan Swearer
Full transcript