Mixed-Methods Design in Social Research

To what extent is mixed methods research simply taking half a quantitative plan and half of a qualitative plan and putting them together?

A recent development in research has evidenced a growing trend in research design. The most popular trend in research design is the use of the mixed methodologies. In this respect, researchers have used both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies in the same research studies. Scholars argue that the use of a mixed research design validates the research results (Biber, 2010). Moreover, the research findings can be understood easily by others.

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In most cases, the application of the mixed methods designs has been subjected into social research studies. Such kind of studies requires integration and collaboration of techniques, especially where interpretation of theories in respect to existing data becomes paramount (Biber, 2010).

Mixed method designs are most applicable in duplicated or parallel research designs. In this case, one half of the research is conducted using quantitative research method and another using qualitative method. The essence of using the two research methods is to realize the same results. This technique validates the results of the research conducted. The concept of trying to achieve the same research purpose using the mixed method design is called triangulation.

It is important to note that mixed methodologies offers variety of knowledge to the research. This is because the design offers the researcher with an opportunity to explore the research domains using different techniques. Such techniques include the use of interviews, questionnaires and recorded data. In order to overcome personal bias in the research, mixed research methodologies are most appropriate. It is in the domain of mixed method design to integrate both nomothetic and idiographic concepts in realizing research generalization and understanding. Both concepts derive data from large and samples respectively.

Explore what you believe is or are the biggest challenges for a researcher who wants to use a mixed methods strategy of inquiry

In recent years, the use of mixed methods has been associated with several challenges. It has been challenging for researchers to distinctively define the evolving meaning of mixed methodologies (Onwuegbuzie & Leech, 2002). It is also a challenge for a researcher to distinguish the value of using the mixed methods to that achieved by a single research method. In fact, many researchers who graduate with competency of a single research methodology find it challenging to adopt to new research trends. It is alleged that mixed methodologies do not have adequate instructions required in a research (Onwuegbuzie & Leech, 2002).

It is always a challenge for researchers with a diverse research orientation to work together. This has been the case for pragmatic researchers who have adopted mixed methodologies in research. They feel alienated in the research discipline. This alienation can be evidenced in their lack of understanding in the use of research notations and terminologies used by other researchers (Onwuegbuzie & Leech, 2002).

Determine which kinds of research questions would be served by a mixed methods strategy of inquiry and explain why

Some research questions cannot be answered through deduction. Such kinds of questions are only answered through mixed researched methodologies. There are some questions answered insightfully by statistical data and validated by qualitative analysis. Questions that require supplementation from qualitative research analysis and expressed through quantitative measures can be answered by mixed research designs. The use of mixed research designs in such questions is to ensure that there is no research bias or existence of mono-method weaknesses.

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Indicate why you believe that more researchers are using a mixed methods strategy of inquiry

The use of mixed research designs is becoming more popular as more researchers seek to be flexible. Moreover, mixed research methodology is popularized by researchers who want to collaborate with other researchers. In this aspect, such researchers use the mixed research methodology to achieve triangulation and confirmation of research findings.

Describe the extent to which a mixed methods strategy of inquiry is used in your discipline

In public administration research studies, the use of mixed research methodologies can be critical in determining both ontological and epistemological concepts. This is done for simplicity purposes. It is important that there exist two approaches, through which people can understand public administration and associated studies. Moreover, public administration is part of the social science discipline.


Biber, S., N. (2010). Mixed methods research: Merging theory with practice. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Onwuegbuzie, A., J & Leech, N., L. (2002). On becoming a pragmatic researcher: The importance of combining quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 8(5), 375-387. Web.

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