In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Mixed Methods Research in Criminology

  • Introduction
  • General Texts on Mixed Methods
  • General Handbooks and Edited Volumes
  • Definitions and Conceptualizations
  • Theoretical and Philosophical Assumptions
  • Potential and Advantages
  • Considerations and Critiques
  • Design and Typologies
  • Integration Strategies
  • Specific Principles, Methods, and Procedures
  • Dissemination and Pedagogy

Criminology Mixed Methods Research in Criminology
John Brent, Peter Kraska, Jordan Skeen
  • LAST REVIEWED: 26 October 2023
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 October 2023
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396607-0330


Research methods provide the infrastructure and means to produce valid and reliable knowledge. These methods guide and structure the process through which scholars conceptualize, implement, conduct, analyze, and disseminate scholarly efforts. They help shed empirical light on motivations, individual behaviors, group- and community-level dynamics, complex social processes, and structural-level currents. To empirically capture this complexity, the field of criminal justice/criminology (and, more broadly, social sciences) has developed and established a diverse set of methodological tools. Historically, research efforts have used quantitative or qualitative methods, each informed by different philosophical assumptions, research designs, strategies, data collection techniques, forms of analysis, and pedagogical goals. A rigid adherence to mono-method practices has led to paradigm conflicts between quantitative and qualitative research. Each side posits that their approach to generating knowledge stem from different philosophical and epistemological roots. On the one hand, quantitative research emphasizes positivism, objectivity, deductive reasoning, precise quantification, value neutrality, and fact finding through empirical replication. On the other hand, qualitative research promotes interpretivism, subjectivity, inductive reasoning, empathy, socially constructed realities, and value-informed interpretations. The argument follows that, given such differences, quantitative and qualitative methods are incompatible and therefore should remain separate. Despite these exclusive boundaries the tendency to combine—or mix—methods has become more prominent. Methodological exclusivism has been labeled as unnecessary and inhibiting because it does not recognize the contributions made by each. Attempts at bridging this divide have led to more pragmatic approaches which combine quantitative and qualitative methods into a single study. Integration allows for complementary strengths to minimize weakness within each. At this point, many in the social sciences view “mixed methods” research as its own paradigm—marked by unique concepts, philosophical assumptions, research designs and typologies, integration strategies, methodological procedures, and pedagogical goals. The following provides a comprehensive review of this literature and approach by providing an annotated bibliography for each of these areas.

General Texts on Mixed Methods

As noted in the literature, mixed methods research has become more prominent across the social sciences, to include the fields of criminal justice/criminology. Creamer 2017, Creswell 2021, Creswell and Clark 2017, Creswell and Creswell 2017, Greene 2007, and Tashakkori, et al. 2020 all provide a text-based introduction and overview of its definitions, philosophical assumptions, designs, procedures, data collection strategies, forms of analysis, and dissemination techniques. The general reviews Creamer 2021 and Hesse-Biber 2010 offer more focus by examining the relationship between theory and mixed methods research. Ridenour and Newman 2008 and Morse and Niehaus 2016 likewise provide such a review with special attention given to both integration and methodological considerations.

  • Creamer, E. G. 2017. An introduction to fully integrated mixed methods research. Los Angeles: SAGE.

    Provides an overview for developing, executing, and evaluating fully-integrated mixed methods research designs. Covers various topics associated with mixed methods definitions, philosophical assumptions, designs, procedures, data, analysis, and dissemination. Concludes by identifying considerations and controversies to guide and develop future mixed methods projects.

  • Creamer, E. G. 2021. Advancing grounded theory with mixed methods. New York: Routledge.

    DOI: 10.4324/9780429057007

    Introduces the concept of “Mixed Method—Grounded Theory Methodology” (MM-GTM). This perspective situates the principles of grounded theory, often reserved for qualitative work, within a mixed methods paradigm. While outlining the new—qualitatively driven—approach, this work discusses the definitions, strategies, processes, and practices associated with MM-GTM.

  • Creswell, J. W. 2021. A concise introduction to mixed methods research. Los Angeles: SAGE.

    Outlines the central methodological components associated with mixed methods research. This text walks the reader through definitions of, beneficial strategies associated with, typologies intended for, and research questions fitting of mixed methods research. It also highlights types of mixed methods designs, methodological procedures, specific integration practices, and dissemination techniques.

  • Creswell, J. W., and V. L. P. Clark. 2017. Designing and conducting mixed methods research. Los Angeles: SAGE.

    Provides a step-by-step look into the process of conducting mixed methods research. In doing so, this text first outlines the nature and foundations of mixed methods research. It then examines the design, application, and methodological practices associated with combining qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Lastly, it concludes by offering insights for writing mixed methods research while identifying recent advancements in the field.

  • Creswell, J. W., and J. D. Creswell. 2017. Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Los Angeles: SAGE.

    Overviews mixed methods research alongside qualitative and quantitative paradigms. Philosophical perspectives are considered, accompanied by a review of both theoretical and ethical considerations. This text also outlines the process of designing and conducting qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods studies. Doing so highlights the benefits and potential of mixed methods research.

  • Greene, J. C. 2007. Mixed methods in social inquiry. Vol. 9. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

    Provides a comprehensive overview of conducting mixed methods research. Organized into three parts, the first section examines the definitions, development, philosophical foundations, and orientation of mixed methods. The second section outlines the purposes, designs, methodological practices, and write-up process associated with conducting mixed methods studies. The final section provides additional insights into the potential for and promise of mixed methods for social science inquiry.

  • Hesse-Biber, S. 2010. Mixed methods research: Mixing theory with practice. New York: The Guilford Press.

    This book examines the relationship and praxis between theory and the practice of mixed methods research. Given its inductive approach, this work outlines various qualitive perspectives that can inform and guide mixed methods research, outlining the importance of interpretive, feminist, and post-modern frameworks. It further outlines how each inform the conceptualization, implementation, procedures, and dissemination of qualitatively driven mixed methods research.

  • Morse, J. M., and L. Niehaus. 2016. Mixed method design: Principles and procedures. New York: Routledge.

    DOI: 10.4324/9781315424538

    Departing from more generalized texts, this work focuses on the design and process of combining qualitative and quantitative approaches into a mixed methods study. Specific attention is given to theory, elements, and principles for mixing—or combing—methodologies into a single approach. This work also outlines specific considerations when planning and conducting qualitatively, quantitatively, and complex-mixed methods designs.

  • Ridenour, C. S., and I. Newman. 2008. Mixed methods research: Exploring the interactive continuum. Carbondale, IL: SIU Press.

    Conceptualizes mixed methods as existing on a continuum between qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Examines the false dichotomy existing between qualitative and quantitative methods while focusing on the validity, reliability, strategies, and applications of mixed methods research. Notes that combining methodological means should exist on an interactive continuum to formulate and implement mixed methods research.

  • Tashakkori, A., R. B. Johnson, and C. Teddlie. 2020. Foundations of mixed methods research: Integrating quantitative and qualitative approaches in the social and behavioral sciences. 2d ed. Los Angeles: SAGE.

    Offers a comprehensive overview compiling a decade of knowledge, development, and advancements in the field of mixed methods research. This text addresses twelve critical areas such as the definitions, development, approaches, and philosophical foundations of mixed methods. It also outlines the designs, research process, methodological practices, analytic strategies, and dissemination practices for conducting mixed methods research.

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