The essay is a critical examination of mixed research methods. To attain this, a description of the contexts when mixed methods researches are appropriate during a dissertation process is discussed. The ultimate goal is to justify when it is appropriate to use qualitative and quantitative research approaches. Additionally, the role of mixed methods research informal inquiry is also of the essence. Lastly, an assessment of the relative strengths and weaknesses of each research method as succinctly brought to light. By definition, mixed research method refers to a situation where researchers use a mixed or combined qualitative and quantitative research approaches, methods, techniques, concepts, language or concepts into one study (Burke & Onwuegbuzie, 2004). This provides a logical as well as a practical alternative; the synergy that the combination has brought to the field of research is unimaginable.
Application of mixed methods research
According to Zikmund, 2003 the contextual features, as well as the problem at hand, are the major drivers dictating the choice of the research methods to be used. It is worth noting that when one needs to bring to light more authentic results mixed method is the best since it counterbalances the drawbacks of qualitative and quantitative approaches. Additionally, when one needs to collect both numerical and non-numerical data then the utilization of a mixed research approach is needed.
Additionally, Creswell, 2009 asserts that when one wants to have a broad view of events or an issue at hand, then the application of the mixed method is strongly advised. However, it is not always that the approach is applicable. In case the timeframe for carrying out research is limited, then using a mixed approach may sound a good idea since both qualitative and quantitative data can be easily collected simultaneously. However, the analysis is time-consuming.
Advantages of mixed methods research
Before bringing to light the advantages of this approach it will be rational to first examine when qualitative and quantitative approaches are desired. This will be attained by analyzing their advantages too. As suggested by Dovona 2009 quantitative approach is suitable in a situation where one is studying a larger population when one needs to have a higher level of credibility when researchers need to generate independent findings, and when one needs to construct hypotheses before collecting the data, data obtained makes it possible for researchers to make a quantitative generalization as well as prediction. Additionally, it is applicable where the time allocated for research is shorter since data collection as well as analysis can be accomplished within a shorter time. The major problem with this approach is that the outcomes are too general to be directly applied in certain cases.
On the other hands, the qualitative research approach is applicable when one needs to come up with solutions to a certain issue, data collected is from a naturalistic point of view, similarly when one needs to carryout research that will carter for changes that are not anticipated then this approach is to be used (Burke & Onwuegbuzie, 2004). Additionally, a clear determination of idiographic cause-effect is best attained by the approach, and when describing complex phenomenon allows consideration of personal experience. However, the methods are time-consuming and very expensive and prone to researcher bias.
The advantage of using mixed research methods include; helps curb the mentioned weaknesses of the qualitative and quantitative approaches. On the same note, the method allows researchers to come up with a test grounded theories, coming up with a complete understanding that can be used to explain theories as well as practices, increases generalization of findings as conclusions arrived at are conversion as well as corroboration of outcomes (Greene & Caracelli, 1997).
From the review of the concept of mixed research methods, it is apparent that it is a combination of qualitative and quantitative study approaches. The synergy brought by the combination has seen to it that the approach is being embraced by the majority of the researcher. It is applicable in a situation where one wants to broaden the generalization of results, broaden understanding among others.
Burke, J. & Onwuegbuzie, J. (2004). “Mixed Methods Research: A Research Paradigm whose Time has come.” Educational Researcher, 33(7): 14–26.
Creswell, J. (2008). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Dovona, D. (2009). “A rationale for Employing Mixed Methods Design” International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning, 4. Web.
Greene, J. & Caracelli, V. (1997). Advances in mixed-method evaluation: The challenges and benefits of integrating diverse paradigms. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Zikmund, W. (2003). Business research methods. Boston, MA: South-Western College.