Mixed Methods in Knowledge Management and Organisational Research

Mixed Methods in Knowledge Management and Organisational Research

Sally Eaves
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch059
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Prior to foregrounding the particularity of mixed methods research, it is germane to situate the approach in a broader context. Whilst the rigorous, coherent and transparent fusion of qualitative and quantitative data components is a central tenet of a mixed methods study, the capacity to employ multiple sources of evidence through different methods affords a long research tradition. Exemplars include case studies to benefit nuanced insight of a phenomenon across intrinsic, instrumental and collective cases (Stake, 2005; Yin, 2013); and grounded theory to systematically and iteratively examine social interaction and experiences to generate a theory of a process via constant comparison (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Birks & Mills, 2011). It is also evidenced in some action research partnership approaches which iteratively address an immediate issue to surface and effect positive change and/or empower a group (Reason & Bradbury-Huang, 2013).

At this juncture, the specific facets of mixed methods research can be introduced, commencing with a synthesis of the varying definitions, classifications and nuanced nomenclature observed within domain literature (Burke Johnson, Onwuegbuzie & Turner, 2007). A mixed methods study comprises the systematic combination of qualitative and quantitative modes of enquiry in a single study or multiphase programme’s design, data collection, evaluation, interpretation and/or presentation phases. Recognising the intimate relationship between qualitative and quantitative data alongside different biases and limitations impacting all research approaches; it is opined that the broad summation of data collected and assessed through a mixed methods design capitalizes on respective strengths, supporting the optimisation of outcomes as appropriate to the problem situation (Cameron, 2011; Eaves, 2014a). Mixing can also occur at the research programme level (De Lisle 2013). Multiple method research is a related subset (Cameron & Molina-Azorin, 2011) which employs more than one approach within a study but set in the same tradition, such as using many forms of qualitative technique. Multiple data strategies can also be adopted within the methods themselves.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Pragmatism: A practical, outcome-directed single paradigm approach, bridging philosophy and methodology.

Abduction: A means of inferencing which combines logic with insight, iterating between induction and deduction. This can support creative problem-solving and the capacity for new knowledge production.

Paradigm: A set of shared values and beliefs which direct/shape perspectives on research direction and practice.

Polyphony: Enables expression of many voices or nuances, enhancing authenticity of the contextual representation.

Bricolage: Action orientated and creative problem-solving using the tools at hand to achieve utile results.

Mixed Methods Research: Philosophical assumptions alongside the modes of enquiry which integrate qualitative and quantitative data collection, analysis and articulation in a single study or related set.

Multiple Method Research: A subset of mixed methods research, employing more than one research method but set within the same paradigm.

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