Evaluation in education and psychology

Mixed Methods Research Designs

Every work involves the use of specific tool or apparatus that enhances the attainment of
the desired objectives. Similarly, in research, there are diverse methods that can be applied to
collect data and come up with scientific reality or information about the social reality. In some
instances, research work will need to apply combined techniques or more than one technique to
increase the chances of getting more reliable information. One of the prominent research
techniques is the use of the Mixed Method Research, (MMR). Mixed method approach, also
referred to as the multi-methodology, involves the application of both the quantitative and
qualitative techniques in a single study. The application of both techniques can either be
concurrent or sequential. The mixed method approach is likely to give a wider dimension of
approach to research when applied in psychology-based study. The current paper describes the
mixed method research as an integration of both quantitative and qualitative methods. In
addition, the paper explains the type of questions best explained by the mixed method approach.
The paper also elaborates the strength and limitation of mixed method approach. Finally, there is
the rationale for and against the utility of mixed methods in psychology.
According to Johnson & Onwuegbuzie (2004), the mixed method approach can be used
to bridge the rift between quantitative and qualitative techniques. Both techniques though viewed
as different, may have closer similarities. For example, both techniques aim to gather empirical
evidence or data to address the questions posed. Mixed method approach is therefore an
integrated approach that erases the limitations posed by the single method and can be used to
answer a question posed on the social phenomenon (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004). The mixed
method approach technique usually uses both quantitative and qualitative techniques in order to

MIXED METHODS RESEARCH DESIGNS 2
create a greater validity that can be derived through the use of varied techniques of data
collection. In the mixed method research technique, both the qualitative and quantitative data are
collected. Afterwards, the data are mixed together to produce more comprehensive and
integrated results regarding the social reality. The mixed method technique can therefore be
viewed as the bringing together of the qualitative and quantitative techniques (Creswell, 2014).
Consequently, the mixed method technique can be explained as a convergence of results arising
from both the qualitative and the quantitative results. This can be illustrated by the diagram
below.

qua RESULTS

The data collected from both the qualitative and quantitative techniques are then connected
together to form integrated research results.

Lastly, the information that is got from the result of carrying out both techniques is then
embedded together and used to explain the social phenomenon that was under enquiry.
Qualitative techniques
data

Quantitative techniques
data

Qualitative Results Quantitative Results Overall Results

Quantitative data
Qualitative data
(Integrated research results)

MIXED METHODS RESEARCH DESIGNS 3
Any research study usually aims to answer a specific question or identify a gap that has
been identified. When applying the mixed method of approach, one question is usually
developed and then extended into quantitative and qualitative sub-questions. Once the enquiry
has been undertaken, different perspectives of research are got and can therefore be used to
explain the social phenomena under the study (Collins & O’cathain, 2009). The questions that
are raised and are to be investigated can be answered from a number of perspectives. In a
concurrent mixed study method, both the quantitative and qualitative studies are carried out
together and results emanating from the study combined. In a sequential study approach, the
qualitative method for instance can be carried out first while the quantitative technique will be
used to test a named hypothesis arising from the study so as to enhance generalization of the
facts (Burkholder, Cox, & Crawford, 2016).
One of the advantages of using the mixed method approach is that the researcher can be
able to use narratives, words and pictures to be able to explain reality or factual data in social
phenomena (Creswell, 2014). For instance, Psychological facts can better be understood when a
combination of these concepts will be used to aid in the explanation of the social reality. From
another insightful perspective, the researcher has an ample platform that allows him/her to be
able to generate and at the same time test any grounded theory (Burkholder, Cox, & Crawford,
2016). Since the researcher will not be confined to particular tenets of the single method of
research, he/she can be able to tackle broader and complete varieties of questions. This allows
the researcher to explore fully and comprehensively the case that he/she is studying to come up
with conclusive information on what he/she is studying. In the mixed method approach,
therefore, there is the concept of complementarily. Additionally, the mixed method allows the

MIXED METHODS RESEARCH DESIGNS 4
researcher to be able to add insightful facts and methods that can be ignored when a single
research technique is applied in carrying out research work especially in psychology.
On the other hand, the mixed method can be considered to be more time-consuming and
expensive. From another perspective, a lot of researchers may also find it difficult to handle any
conflicting ideas or results arising from the study that uses the mixed method research technique.
Furthermore, there are some researchers who may hold methodological predilections, which may
make them lean on one method at the expense of the other. In such cases, the researcher may fail
to understand the mixed methods as a complete integration of both the qualitative and
quantitative methods.
Psychology-based researches require intensive implementation of research techniques
that come up with viable results that fully explain a specific social phenomenon. For example,
when the mixed method is used in finding out psychological concepts in the social world, the
researcher is likely to come up with stronger evidence that will be derived from the convergence
and collaboration of ideas from both the qualitative and quantitative techniques, applied together.
When both methods have been applied, the researcher can come up with a complete knowledge
that can be effective in explaining and informing psychological practices and theories (Edmonds
& Kennedy, 2012). From another insightful perspective, when the mixed method approach is
used to investigate a psychological concept, overlapping, though diverse ideas about a social
phenomenon can be derived.
When undertaking a psychological study, the mixed method can enhance
complimentarily between the quantitative and qualitative techniques. For instance, the results
that can be derived from one method can be verified using the other. For example, the qualitative
study can be used to come up with a psychological concept in the social world. Quantitative

MIXED METHODS RESEARCH DESIGNS 5
study can afterwards be undertaken to verify the facts through coming up with a hypothesis
following the survey undertaken from the qualitative study (Mertens, 2014). Consequently, when
qualitative technique is used as a platform to carry out a survey study, quantitative technique can
be used to verify the facts.
Contrarily, the mixed method approach can pose difficulties to the researcher especially
where he/she will be required to apply two or more approaches concurrently to study a
psychological concept on a certain population. The researcher will be required to go an extra
mile to understand how to apply both methods and how to mix them appropriately.
In conclusion, a single method used in carrying out research can produce a variety of
weaknesses. The mixed method approach can be used to compensate for the weaknesses that can
be prevalent in every single technique. For instance, the use of both the qualitative and
quantitative techniques yields results that give a comprehensive outlook about the social
phenomenon under enquiry.

MIXED METHODS RESEARCH DESIGNS 6

References

Burkholder, G. J., Cox, K. A., & Crawford, L. M. (2016).The scholar-practitioner’s guide to
research design. Baltimore, MD: Laureate Publishing.
Collins, K. & O’cathain, A. (2009). Introduction: Ten points about mixed methods
research to be considered by the novice researcher. International Journal of Multiple
Research Approaches, 3(1), 2-7.
Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications.
Creswell, J. W. (2014). A concise introduction to mixed methods research. Sage Publications.
Edmonds, W. A., & Kennedy, T. D. (2012). An applied reference guide to research designs:
Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. Sage Publications.
Johnson, R. & Onwuegbuzie, A. (2004). Mixed Methods Research: A Research Paradigm Whose
Time Has Come. Educational Researcher, 33(7), 14-
26.
Mertens, D. M. (2014). Research and evaluation in education and psychology: Integrating
diversity with quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. Sage publications.

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