This practical text equips students, researchers, and policymakers in the social sciences with the tools they need for applying mixed methods in policy research and program evaluation, from design, through data collection, and dissemination. Emphasizing the “how-to”—the set of conceptual and active tasks carried out by mixed methods researchers—the book is illustrated with rich case studies from the authors’ own research projects in education and public policy. These examples help readers identify and explain policy and program impacts and better understand the “why” and “how” of observed effects. Throughout the book, the authors describe challenges that both beginners and advanced scholars are likely to encounter when doing mixed methods research and recommend practical tools available to address them.

Practical Tools for Integrated Mixed Methods Studies of Policy Implementation

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Introduction

Implementing a mixed methods study, similar to implementing complex policies, depends not only on research design but also on how various stakeholders and staff involved in the study (from principal investigator to field-worker to data analyst) interpret the objectives of the study and act on these interpretations. Fully integrated, mixed methods research is like policy implementation in that it is context-specific and is shaped as it is executed. For example, the value, interpretation, and responses to a common set of research findings may vary depending on the entity (e.g., the history and reform priorities of a school district) and in terms of a stakeholder’s formal position or responsibility (district director of assessment or school ...

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