- 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)
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.