Mixed Sampling Design

Basic Characteristics

  • Design can be based on either or both perspectives.
  • Research problems can become research questions and/or hypotheses based on prior literature, knowledge, experience, or the research process.
  • Sample sizes vary based on methods used.
  • Data collection can involve any technique available to researchers.
  • Interpretation is continual and can influence stages in the research process.

Why Use Mixed Methods?

The simple answer is to overcome the limitations of a single design. A detailed answer involves

  To explain and interpret.

  To explore a phenomenon.

  To develop and test a new instrument.

 To serve a theoretical perspective.

  To complement the strengths of a single design.

  To overcome the weaknesses of a single design.

  To address a question at different levels.

  To address a theoretical perspective at different level

What are some strengths?

  • Can be easy to describe and to report.
  • Can be useful when unexpected results arise from a prior study.
  • Can help generalize, to a degree, qualitative data.
  • Helpful in designing and validating an instrument.
  • Can position research in a transformative framework.

What are some weaknesses?

  • Time required.
  • Resolving discrepancies between different types of data.
  • Some designs generate unequal evidence.
  • Can be difficult to decide when to proceed in sequential designs.
  • Little guidance on transformative methods.

Six Mixed Methods Design Strategies (Creswell, 2003)

  1. Sequential Explanatory

Characterized by: Collection and analysis of quantitative data followed by a collection and analysis of qualitative data.

Purpose: To use qualitative results to assist in explaining and interpreting the findings of a quantitative study.

  1. Sequential Exploratory

Characterized by: An initial phase of qualitative data collection and analysis followed by a phase of quantitative data collection and analysis.

Purpose: To explore a phenomenon. This strategy may also be useful when developing and testing a new instrument

  1. Sequential Transformative

Characterized by: Collection and analysis of either quantitative or qualitative data first. The results are integrated in the interpretation phase.

Purpose: To employ the methods that best serve a theoretical perspective.

  1. Concurrent Triangulation

Characterized by: Two or more methods used to confirm, cross-validate, or corroborate findings within a study. Data collection is concurrent.

Purpose: Generally, both methods are used to overcome a weakness in using one method with the strengths of another.

  1. Concurrent Nested

Characterized by: A nested approach that gives priority to one of the methods and guides the project, while another is embedded or “nested.”

Purpose: The purpose of the nested method is to address a different question than the dominant or to seek information from different levels.

  1. Concurrent Transformative

Characterized by: The use of a theoretical perspective reflected in the purpose or research questions of the study to guide all methodological choices.

Purpose: To evaluate a theoretical perspective at different levels of analysis.

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