In mixed methods research, the researcher mixes or combines quantitative and qualitative research techniques, methods, approaches, concepts or language into a single study.
Identify and discuss the underlying philosophy, assumptions, components and strengths and weaknesses of mixed methods research?
Mixed Method Research
Mixed method research refers to the research design that comprises of both the philosophical assumption and the comprehensive method of inquiry. The research design includes both the qualitative and quantitative research methods. The philosophical assumption of the research desi guides the focus of the collection and gathering of both qualitative and quantitative data and a combination of various qualitative and quantitative methods in numerous stages in the research process (McCusker, & Gunaydin, 2015). The research methodology focusses on the collection, analysis, and combination of both the qualitative and quantitative data in a single approach. Its main focus is to use both the qualitative and quantitative approaches to offer an improved understanding of research challenges and problems than using a single research design alone.
The main assumption of the mixed research approach is that the mixed research paradigm has the most advanced research as a mix of both qualitative and quantitative research approaches. Mixed method researchers usually assume that they possess strong study with valid and generalizable outcomes. In addition, the mixed research approach has its foundation in research pragmatism (Smith, 2015). For the mixed methods researchers, the method not critical as the nature of the research question, which is requested. The mixed method researchers do not rely a single philosophy and thus, they could use assumptions from each of the research paradigms to answer the research question. The researchers also assume that the selection of the mixed research approach helps to reduce limitations of using single research method. McCusker and Gunaydin (2015) suggested that the mono-method research is a significant threat to the growth of various discipline such as education.
According to Hughes (2016), there are three components of the mixed research method including the philosophical perspectives, research designs, and the research methods. The philosophical perspectives help to provide a theoretical foundation to improve the construction of the mixed research approach. The research designs involved are qualitative and quantitative research designs that dictates the procedures of gathering and collecting data. The research methods involved in the approach includes the data collection, interpretation, data collection, and validation.
The strengths of using the mixed research methods includes first, it provides significant strengths that offsets the limitations of both the qualitative and quantitative research designs. According to Creswell and Creswell (2017), the mixed methods research is weak in the understanding of setting whereby people conducts the research. The qualitative research approach has specific deficiencies including the challenge of generalizing the findings to a large population as the outcomes are obtained from sample respondents. The combination of the two research approaches offset their weaknesses.
Another strength of mixed research approach is to provide comprehensive research information and data for reviewing a research problem rather than using qualitative or quantitative data alone. Researchers have the opportunity to use all research tools to gather data rather than been limited to certain methods of data collection due to using a single research design. In addition, the mixed research methods assist in responding to questions, which could be answered through either the quantitative or qualitative approach alone (Smith, 2015). This leads to more satisfactorily responses to research questions. The mixed research methods also encourage the researchers to engage in collaboration across the conflicting relationship between the qualitative and quantitative researchers. The approach is also practical as the researchers have the freedom to use all research methods to deal with key research problem.
The weaknesses of the mixed research method include that it is time-consuming and extremely expensive. Poorly funded researchers can be able to afford to use the mixed research approach. It is also difficult to get a researcher with advanced experience in both the quantitative and qualitative research designs (Hughes, 2016). In addition, the researchers have to learn about the various methods and be able to combine them effectively. It might also be difficult to interpret conflicting outcomes and analysis the data obtained from both research methods.
Creswell, J. W., & Creswell, J. D. (2017). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. London, UK: Sage publications.
Hughes, A. S. (2016). Mixed methods research. APS Observer, 29(5).
McCusker, K., & Gunaydin, S. (2015). Research using qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods and choice based on the research. Perfusion, 30(7), 537-542.
Smith, J. A. (Ed.). (2015). Qualitative psychology: A practical guide to research methods. London, UK: Sage.