In This Article Mixed Methods Research

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Reference Works
  • Textbooks
  • Conferences
  • Journals
  • Social Justice
  • Early Works
  • Recent Thinking
  • Rationale for Mixing Methods
  • Purpose for Mixing Methods
  • Research Questions
  • Sampling
  • Research Designs
  • Collecting Data
  • Data Legitimation
  • Triangulation
  • Writing Research Reports
  • Writing Grants
  • Evaluation

Education Mixed Methods Research
by
Nancy Leech
  • LAST REVIEWED: 28 April 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 22 April 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756810-0074

Introduction

Mixed methods research refers to studies in which researchers utilize qualitative and quantitative techniques, integrate findings, and draw inferences from both the qualitative and quantitative components. Researchers have been conducting mixed methods research for decades, yet it has recently become more prominent as a form of inquiry. Researchers who conduct mixed methods studies are faced with many challenges such as definitions of mixed methods, mixed methods research designs, integration of qualitative and quantitative data, sampling techniques, and using mixed methods research to promote social justice, to name just a few. It is important to note that mixed methods research is a field of its own with unique techniques and methods. Quantitative and qualitative research fields are more mature and researchers have agreed upon designs, sampling techniques, and so on. Yet, there is not much agreement in the mixed methods field on many of these topics, and there are multiple ideas available regarding the different steps of the research process (e.g., there are many types of mixed methods research designs available to researchers). Indeed, there is consensus that this field is changing and growing. This situation presents researchers with various challenges. One such challenge is that conducting mixed methods research can be difficult because a researcher needs to have knowledge of both qualitative and quantitative techniques. One remedy for this is to work in teams. When conducting mixed methods research it is imperative for researchers to learn how to integrate the qualitative and quantitative strands so that the results from mixed methods research studies provide deep understanding of the phenomena under investigation.

General Overviews

These articles are good for a general understanding of mixed methods research. Johnson and Onwuegbuzie 2004 presents data from leaders in the field answering the question “What is mixed methods research?” and includes their views of how mixed methods is its own research paradigm. The follow-up article Johnson, et al. 2007 also includes interviews with leaders in the field as well as a definition of mixed methods research. Greene 2008 and Greene 2012 outline how mixed methods research is its own methodology and that mixed methods research leads to more meaningful results than studies conducted using only one methodology. Finally, Teddlie and Tashakkori 2012 outlines what researchers should consider before engaging in a mixed methods study.

  • Greene, J. C. 2008. Is mixed methods social inquiry a distinctive methodology? Journal of Mixed Methods Research 2:7–22.

    DOI: 10.1177/1558689807309969E-mail Citation »

    Reviews the practical guidelines, philosophy, methodology, and sociopolitical commitments of mixed methods research to promote the field as its own methodology. Explores paradigms and presents the idea of mixing paradigms. This article is helpful for understanding that mixed methods research is a stand-alone methodology.

  • Greene, J. C. 2012. Engaging critical issues in social inquiry by mixing methods. American Behavioral Scientist 56:755–773.

    DOI: 10.1177/0002764211433794E-mail Citation »

    Argues that mixed methods research provides a deeper understanding of phenomena than either qualitative or quantitative methods. Two research articles, one qualitative and one quantitative, are examined and critiqued to show how conducting these studies using mixed methods research would have enriched the results.

  • Johnson, R. B., and A. J. Onwuegbuzie. 2004. Mixed methods research: A research paradigm whose time has come. Educational Researcher 33:13–36.

    DOI: 10.3102/0013189X033007014E-mail Citation »

    Includes responses from leaders in the field to the question “What is mixed methods research?” The authors use this information to develop an overarching definition of mixed methods research. Suggests that mixed methods is its own research paradigm. Good introduction to mixed methods research.

  • Johnson, R. B., A. J. Onwuegbuzie, and L. A. Turner. 2007. Toward a definition of mixed methods research. Journal of Mixed Methods Research 1:112–133.

    DOI: 10.1177/1558689806298224E-mail Citation »

    Argues that mixed methods research is one of the three major research paradigms. Based on interviews with leaders in the field of mixed methods, this article defines mixed methods research. Describes the history of mixed methods research and delineates future related issues.

  • Teddlie, C., and A. Tashakkori. 2012. Common “core” characteristics of mixed methods research: A review of critical issues and call for greater convergence. American Behavioral Scientist 56:774–788.

    DOI: 10.1177/0002764211433795E-mail Citation »

    Addressing 21st-century controversies in the field, these authors present four issues: training mixed methods researchers to have methodological eclecticism (i.e., having abilities in using both qualitative and quantitative techniques), using paradigm pluralism (i.e., the possibility of having more than one paradigm underlying one study), developing research and analytic techniques specific to mixed methods, and utilizing an iterative approach to research.

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