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Mixed Methods

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Darla Taylor

on 6 November 2013

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Transcript of Mixed Methods

Mixed methods

Gert Biesta

Mixed Methods
The nature of mixed methods research
Seven levels or dimensions:
Different Mixed Designs
An Example: the Learning Lives project
Three different approaches:
interpretative life history research
two forms of life-course research: longitudinal interpretative life-course research and
longitudinal quantitative survey research
The aim of this project was to deepen the understanding of the complexities of learning in the life course while identifying, implementing and evaluating strategies for sustained positive impact upon learning opportunities, dispositions and practices, and upon the empowerment of adults.
Particular interest: interrelationships between learning, identity and agency in the life course.
Introducing mixed methods research
1990"s mixed methods research has become popular and increasingly influential way to understand and conduct research in the social sciences, including the field of education.
Combination of 'qualitative' and 'quantitative' approaches with the ambition to generate a more acurate and adequate understanding of social phenomena than would be possible by using only one of these approaches.
Paradigm Wars
a discussion about social research characterized by strongly opposing views about what counts as good and worthwhile research.
"The advance of mixed methods research has brought about a degree of pacification acknowledging that 'qualitative' and 'quantitative' approaches both have strengths and weaknesses, so that a combination of the two might be a more fruitful option." (see Denzin, 2008)
Concurrent Designs
Qualitative and quantitative elements occur within the same study.
Triangulation, where separate studies of the same phenomenon are conducted and the findings of the two studies are brought together after they have been concluded.
Sequential Designs
Qualitative and quantitative elements alternate.
For example: statistical information abut the relationship between student characteristics and educational achievement may be collected and analysed first and then, once certain patterns have been identified, these are followed up with in-depth interviews in order to gain a deeper understanding of why the patterns might occur.
"Proponents of a mixed methods approach thus advocate a
rather than a
"decisions about design and methods should be driven by the aims, objectives and research questions."
"one should choose the combination or mixture of methods and procedures tht works best for answering your research questions."
Mixed methods = triangulation
expresses the belief that the convergence of evidence stemming from two or more methods can enhance the strength and validity of research findings.
1. Triangulation
seeking convergence and corroboration of results from different methods and designs studying the same phenomenon
2. Complementarity
seeking elaboration, enhancement, illustration and clarification of the results from one method with results from one method with results from the other method
3. Initiation
discovering potential paradoxes and contradictions that lead to a re-framing of the research question
4. Development
using the findings from one method to help inform the other method
5. Expansion
seeking to expand the breadth and range of research by using different methods for different inquiry components.
Mixed Methods Research
'The type of research in which a researcher or team of researchers combines elements of qualitative and quantitative research approaches (e.g. use of qualitative and quantitative viewpoints, data collection, analysis,inference techniques) for the broad purposes of breadth and depth of understanding and corroboration'.
Mixed Method Study
involves "mixing within a single study"
Mixed Method Programme
involves 'mixing within a program of research [where] the mixing might occur across a closely related set of studies'.
1. Data

Is it possible to combine text and numbers?
2. Methods
Is it possible to combine different methods of data collection and/or data analysis?
3. Designs

Is it possible to combine experimental/interventionist and naturalist/non-interventionist designs?
Is it possible to combine different views about knowledge?
5. Ontologies
Is it possible to combine different views about reality?
6. Research purposes
Is it possible to combine the intention to generate causal explanation with the intention to generate interpretative understandings?
7. Practical Orientations
Can research be orientated both towards the production of solutions, techniques and technologies and towards the development of critical understanding and analysis?
In literature concurrent and sequential approaches are often written in all caps, indicates equals status given to both approaches.
If one approach is more dominant:
QUAL + quan or QUAN + qual
QUAL-> quan or QuAN -> qual
No typical methods for data collection in mixed research.
Depending on what one wants to achieve, any method can be included.
"No typical methods for data analysis, other than that is is of crucial importance that the analysis of the data is congruent with the design of the research and, most importantly, with the overall purpose of the research."
"Research purpose - something which can only be stated if one has a good grasp of the problems one wishes to address through research."
identify a problem
identify to what extent research might make a contribution to addressing the problem.
some problems do not need research to be addressed - one can begin to state the overall research purpose and more specific aims and objectives.
THEN possible to formulate research questions, construct a design and decide about methods for data collection and data analysis.
The project is of interest because it provides an example of a more complicated mixed design than most of the literature on mixed methods research.
Reveals that while in theory mixed designs may be very attractive, in practice they can become quite complicated, particularly if either time or financial resources are limited or if the project is large in scale.
Mixed methods research poses a number of additional challenges to researchers so that it is even more important to think carefully through the design of the research.
Important to note:

Be aware of the fact that the idea of "research paradigms" is a typical Anglo-American way to engage with questions concerning the methods and methodologies of research.
" In this tradition one would often argue that, in addition to an understanding, there is a third approach focused on emancipation or, in the words of Carr and Kemmis (1986), on "becoming critical".
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