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Mixing Research methods

Respond to initial post:

There is considerable debate about whether the conflicting foundational assumptions of quantitative and qualitative research methods allow researchers to “mix” methods.

  • Find an article on “mixing methods” in research.
  • Discuss the article and then how to address the issue of “mixing methods” in research.

For all discussions, students must respond to or evaluate two peer postings with at least a 125-word response that is well thought out, supported by resources, and instigative of critical analysis or discussion.

 

Respond post 1:

  • Mixing methods in research can be challenging. Plastow (2016, p. 89) points out that the strengths and weaknesses of each method can balance each other out if applied properly. It is also discussed that the multiple perspectives gathered through triangulation helps the researcher to avoid biases and helps build associations between what is observed and theory construction (Plastow, 2016, p.89).

Plastow (2016, p. 89) also contends that the using a mixed methods approach can all the researcher to elaborate the findings of quantitative and qualitative portions of the study to increase the validity, trustworthiness, and rigor of the study. It is also pointed out that there are drawbacks to using mixed methods.

One drawback is that students will often attempt to construct mixed methods studies using multiple paradigms which creates more difficulty for the student (Plastow, 2016, p. 90). The difficulty often lies in basic mistakes and lack of expertise needed to execute the methodologies chosen (Plastow, 2016, p. 90). Students often struggle with categorizing quantitative data and often try to reduce qualitative data into quantifiable numbers (Plastow, 2016, p. 90).

Sometimes mistakes are made as the researcher tries to experience proficiency in too many dissimilar methodologies within the paradigms of the research simultaneously (Plastow, 2016, p. 90). Plastow (2016, p. 90) points out that mixed methods approach can be messy which can cause a student to get lost when absorbed in the data analysis. Plastow (2016, p. 90) argues that students should be taught to develop an in-depth understanding of one research paradigm instead of being taught mixed method designs.

I understand Plastow’s position as an instructor, but I feel that I disagree with her assessment. I think (and may be incorrect in thinking) that students should be taught how to incorporate mixed methodologies. I would argue that at the undergraduate and post graduate levels students should be taught how to code qualitative and quantitative research and how to correctly write up the results so that by the time they get to their dissertation they are well versed in multiple methodologies allowing them to produce meaningful research that will help advance their topic’s knowledge base. Some ways to avoid the pitfalls of mixed methods design is to clearly define all aspects and variables before starting the project.

Next be flexible to adapt to changes as needed in the process. Then keep clear and accurate notes on all aspects of the research. Also, when mixing methods do not reduce qualitative data into quantitative numbers. Learn to integrate the different writing styles needed for each type of data into one cohesive analysis. Bottom line is that mixed methods is difficult but doable.

  • References
  • Plastow, N. A. (2016). Mixing-up research methods: A recipe for success or disaster? South African Journal of Occupational Therapy46(1), 89-90. doi:10.17159/2310-3833/2016/v46n1a16

 

Last Updated on September 15, 2019

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