Mixed Methods Research: What are the Key Issues to Consider?

Mixed Methods Research: What are the Key Issues to Consider?

Rajashi Ghosh (Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/IJAVET.2016040103
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Mixed methods research (MMR) is increasingly becoming a popular methodological approach in several fields due to the promise it holds for comprehensive understanding of complex problems being researched. However, researchers interested in MMR often lack reference to a guide that can explain the key issues pertaining to the paradigm wars influencing MMR, different objectives of MMR, choice of MMR designs, and articulation of research questions in MMR. This paper addresses that gap through providing a peek into these issues through illustrative examples. This brief introduction to MMR is meant to encourage readers to delve deeper into the MMR literature and make informed decisions in designing and implementing MMR studies.
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Paradigm Wars And Mmr

Before I discuss the different paradigms guiding the quantitative and qualitative research streams and how they might or might not be in contention when it comes to MMR, it is important to first understand what we mean by the term “paradigm”. Broadly, paradigms can be defined as “shared belief systems that influence the kinds of knowledge researchers seek and how they interpret the evidence they collect” (Morgan, 2007, p. 50). A closer look though would reveal subtle differences in the ways in which the term “paradigm” has been understood and used to guide research. Morgan (2007) reviews four basic versions of the paradigm concept and explains how accepting one version over the other might persuade us to support the combination of paradigms and reject the assumption that paradigms guiding quantitative and qualitative research are fundamentally incompatible. Out of the four versions, the two that are most relevant to understanding the paradigm wars and its implications for MMR are: (1) paradigms as epistemological stances, and (2) paradigms as shared beliefs among members of a specialty area (Morgan, 2007).

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