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Mixed Methods Research: Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Design
M ixed research is another type of dissertation. However, this type of research combines qualitative and quantitative techniques to draw out the best possible findings for a study. Mixed research allows the researcher to use qualitative research methods for one part and the quantitative methods for another part, or both categories of methods for data-gathering, often to support or invalidate a hypothesis or each method’s results. You can implement mixed research in two ways:
Mixed model research
This arrangement allows the researcher to combine both quantitative and qualitative research approaches on the same phase. For example, you can use questionnaires as a part of the data-gathering process which can contain both quantitative and qualitative type items. Therefore, even if your research topic is qualitative in nature, you can allow a larger number of respondents, and use statistical data to support your hypothesis.
Combining both qualitative and quantitative data can give a better justification to your dissertation, as long as all methods are properly implemented and prepared to complement each other’s gaps.
Example: Take, for example, the research objective is to shed light on the perception of children of farmers in rural China on farming as a career. Since we are taking the children’s perception on farming as a career, this study is considered as qualitative in nature. However, the researcher may proceed with mixed model approach by taking, for instance, 100 respondents (children 16yrs and/or below) and making them fill out a questionnaire which contains open-ended items, scaling items, and yes or no items.
In this case, you will gather qualitative data from the open-ended questions, as well as quantitative data from the other two types of questions. Consequently, you will have two types of information to discuss–the actual answers of your respondents and the interpretation on your statistical results.
Mixed method research
Mixed method research, on the other hand, can give you a larger scope in terms of the aspects of your research topic. Mixed method research means you can conduct a quantitative study, experimental or not, and utilize qualitative techniques to gather educated opinion regarding your research paper, as if you are also conducting a mini research related to yours. This way, you will have findings for your research question, as well as findings on how the experts think of your research.
Example: Say, the research topic is to study the differences between the effectiveness of schooling (in classrooms) and home-schooling. Although this can be done using qualitative methods via interview sessions with experts, the researcher can actually utilize various tests applicable to quantitative interpretations such as taking the scores of the students in various subjects, computing the average, and interpreting the data. Once the findings are out, the researcher can then conduct interviews with professors to gather their opinion regarding the chosen topic. That way, the results can either be further supported, or a counterargument can be discovered.
Do not be afraid if a counterargument floats as you proceed on implementing the qualitative research process, because you can always discuss it as a limitation of your research, and a topic recommendation for future researchers. Although the use of mixed research is encouraged by most instructors because of its apparent advantages in closing loopholes, you do not have to force your study to apply this method.
Always keep in mind that the purpose of a research design is to extract the most accurate findings for your research topic, and this does not always mean that you need to combine qualitative and quantitative techniques. Note that some topics works well with quantitative techniques (scientific), while some works well with qualitative techniques (ethnography, etc.). Also, do not focus too much on the methodology more than your research questions and objectives , because the research design should only be planned after you have carefully studied a significant and feasible topic.
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