Mixed Method Approach: Research Design

Mixed Method Approach
Mixed Method Approach

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Mixed Method Approach Research Designs

            Every work involves the use of specific tool or apparatus that enhances the attainment of the desired objectives. Similarly, in research, there are diverse methods that can be applied to collect data and come up with scientific reality or information about the social reality. In some instances, research work will need to apply combined techniques or more than one technique to increase the chances of getting more reliable information.

One of the prominent research techniques is the use of the Mixed Method Research, (MMR). Mixed method approach, also referred to as the multi-methodology, involves the application of both the quantitative and qualitative techniques in a single study. The application of both techniques can either be concurrent or sequential. The mixed method approach is likely to give a wider dimension of approach to research when applied in psychology-based study.

The current paper describes the mixed method research as an integration of both quantitative and qualitative methods. In addition, the paper explains the type of questions best explained by the mixed method approach. The paper also elaborates the strength and limitation of mixed method approach. Finally, there is the rationale for and against the utility of mixed methods in psychology.

            According to Johnson & Onwuegbuzie (2004), the mixed method approach can be used to bridge the rift between quantitative and qualitative techniques. Both techniques though viewed as different, may have closer similarities. For example, both techniques aim to gather empirical evidence or data to address the questions posed. Mixed method approach is therefore an integrated approach that erases the limitations posed by the single method and can be used to answer a question posed on the social phenomenon (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004).

The mixed method approach technique usually uses both quantitative and qualitative techniques in order to create a greater validity that can be derived through the use of varied techniques of data collection. In the mixed method research technique, both the qualitative and quantitative data are collected. Afterwards, the data are mixed together to produce more comprehensive and integrated results regarding the social reality.

The mixed method technique can therefore be viewed as the bringing together of the qualitative and quantitative techniques (Creswell, 2014). Consequently, the mixed method technique can be explained as a convergence of results arising from both the qualitative and the quantitative results. This can be illustrated by the diagram below.

RESULTS

The data collected from both the qualitative and quantitative techniques are then connected together to form integrated research results.

Lastly, the information that is got from the result of carrying out both techniques is then embedded together and used to explain the social phenomenon that was under enquiry.

Any research study usually aims to answer a specific question or identify a gap that has been identified. When applying the mixed method of approach, one question is usually developed and then extended into quantitative and qualitative sub-questions. Once the enquiry has been undertaken, different perspectives of research are got and can therefore be used to explain the social phenomena under the study (Collins & O’cathain, 2009).  The questions that are raised and are to be investigated can be answered from a number of perspectives.

In a concurrent mixed study method, both the quantitative and qualitative studies are carried out together and results emanating from the study combined. In a sequential study approach, the qualitative method for instance can be carried out first while the quantitative technique will be used to test a named hypothesis arising from the study so as to enhance generalization of the facts (Burkholder, Cox, & Crawford, 2016).

One of the advantages of using the mixed method approach is that the researcher can be able to use narratives, words and pictures to be able to explain reality or factual data in social phenomena (Creswell, 2014). For instance, Psychological facts can better be understood when a combination of these concepts will be used to aid in the explanation of the social reality.

From another insightful perspective, the researcher has an ample platform that allows him/her to be able to generate and at the same time test any grounded theory (Burkholder, Cox, & Crawford, 2016).  Since the researcher will not be confined to particular tenets of the single method of research, he/she can be able to tackle broader and complete varieties of questions.

This allows the researcher to explore fully and comprehensively the case that he/she is studying to come up with conclusive information on what he/she is studying. In the mixed method approach, therefore, there is the concept of complementarily. Additionally, the mixed method allows the researcher to be able to add insightful facts and methods that can be ignored when a single research technique is applied in carrying out research work especially in psychology.

On the other hand, the mixed method can be considered to be more time-consuming and expensive. From another perspective, a lot of researchers may also find it difficult to handle any conflicting ideas or results arising from the study that uses the mixed method research technique.  Furthermore, there are some researchers who may hold methodological predilections, which may make them lean on one method at the expense of the other. In such cases, the researcher may fail to understand the mixed methods as a complete integration of both the qualitative and quantitative methods.

Psychology-based researches require intensive implementation of research techniques that come up with viable results that fully explain a specific social phenomenon. For example, when the mixed method is used in finding out psychological concepts in the social world, the researcher is likely to come up with stronger evidence that will be derived from the convergence and collaboration of ideas from both the qualitative and quantitative techniques, applied together.  

When both methods have been applied, the researcher can come up with a complete knowledge that can be effective in explaining and informing psychological practices and theories (Edmonds & Kennedy, 2012). From another insightful perspective, when the mixed method approach is used to investigate a psychological concept, overlapping, though diverse ideas about a social phenomenon can be derived.

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When undertaking a psychological study, the mixed method can enhance complimentarily between the quantitative and qualitative techniques. For instance, the results that can be derived from one method can be verified using the other. For example, the qualitative study can be used to come up with a psychological concept in the social world. Quantitative study can afterwards be undertaken to verify the facts through coming up with a hypothesis following the survey undertaken from the qualitative study (Mertens, 2014). Consequently, when qualitative technique is used as a platform to carry out a survey study, quantitative technique can be used to verify the facts.

Contrarily, the mixed method approach can pose difficulties to the researcher especially where he/she will be required to apply two or more approaches concurrently to study a psychological concept on a certain population. The researcher will be required to go an extra mile to understand how to apply both methods and how to mix them appropriately.

In conclusion, a single method used in carrying out research can produce a variety of weaknesses. The mixed method approach can be used to compensate for the weaknesses that can be prevalent in every single technique. For instance, the use of both the qualitative and quantitative techniques yields results that give a comprehensive outlook about the social phenomenon under enquiry.

References

 Burkholder, G. J., Cox, K. A., & Crawford, L. M. (2016).The scholar-practitioner’s guide to research design. Baltimore, MD: Laureate Publishing.

Collins, K. & O’cathain, A. (2009). Introduction: Ten points about mixed methods
research to be considered by the novice researcher. International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches, 3(1), 2-7. http://dx.doi.org/10.5172/mra.455.3.1.2

Creswell, J. (2014). Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications.

Creswell, J. W. (2014). A concise introduction to mixed methods research. Sage Publications.

Edmonds, W. A., & Kennedy, T. D. (2012). An applied reference guide to research designs: Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. Sage Publications.

Johnson, R. & Onwuegbuzie, A. (2004). Mixed Methods Research: A Research Paradigm Whose Time Has Come. Educational Researcher, 33(7), 14-26. http://dx.doi.org/10.3102/0013189×033007014

Mertens, D. M. (2014). Research and evaluation in education and psychology: Integrating diversity with quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. Sage publications.

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