Activity 8

Mixed Methods Approaches

Mixed method research is a general type of research in which quantitative and qualitative techniques are mixed in one overall study. The researcher uses the qualitative research paradigm for one phase of a research study and the quantitative research paradigm for another phase.

For example, a researcher might administer a statistical analysis of questionnaire findings (quantitative) and then conduct an interview study with the participants (qualitative) to see how they viewed the issues. Mixed methods research can be a bit like conducting two studies in one.

The author of this online chapter proposes an interesting metaphor for thinking about mixed methods research: Construct one fish net out of several fish nets that have holes in them by laying them on top of one another. The "new" net will not have any holes in it. The use of multiple methods or approaches to research arguably works in a similar way.

REFLECT: Are there any limitations in the validity of this metaphor? In what ways might a combination of approaches have complementary strengths and non-overlapping weaknesses?

WRITE: Explain briefly how you would design a mixed methods research approach to the study of EITHER academic underachievement OR classroom management OR attitudes to reading. Write about the ways in which a mixed method approach might strengthen or corroborate your findings.

(Allow 25 minutes)