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Mixed Research Designs

General rule: use methods whose strengths overlap and whose weaknesses cancel out.

       Example: phenomenological studies have low generalizability. So do one-shot
       case studies (a quantitative method). Pair phenomenological research with a
       method of higher generalizability (e.g., a well-authenticated questionnaire).

Advantages of a Mixed Research Design:

      Tells the story behind the numbers.
      Triangulation of sources.
      Comes at the topic from more than one point of view.
      Can deal with a wider range of variables, questions, and hypotheses.
      The weaknesses of one method can be compensated by strengths of another.
      In general, makes it easier to connect theory with practice.

Potential Disadvantages:

      More resources needed.
      More expertise needed.
      More time spent on analysis.
      Requires research participants who don’t mind multiple interventions.
      Expense.
      Sometimes harder to interpret and combine the results of the data.

Types: Mixed Model and Mixed Method:

      Mixed Model: methods are mixed throughout the study.

       - Within-stage design: combining simultaneously (e.g., survey plus interviews).

       - Across- (or between-)stage design: methods vary across two or more steps (e.g.,
         do an interview, then do a quantitative analysis of it).

      Mixed Method: quantitative and qualitative approaches are phased: each done
       separately with results combined at the end. Can be done concurrently or one after
       the other, and with equal emphasis or with one more emphasized.

A useful resource:

Creswell, J. 2003. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods
   Approaches. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

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