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Teenagers' Perceptions and Experiences of Belfast as a Divided or Shared City

By: & Published: 2014 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 1
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In this ‘research project’ case study, we provide an empirical example of how quantitative and qualitative methods were combined within a single study and discuss some of the strengths and weaknesses of our combined methodology which included questionnaires, photo-prompts and focus-group interviews. Our intention in using mixed methods was to enhance understandings of the meanings of space, place and territory on the everyday lives of young people growing up in Belfast. How do young people negotiate space in politically divided cities such as Belfast? Is territory important, and if so, why is it important? How do we construct an appropriate and relevant study design that can not only describe, but explain what place, space and territory mean to young people, and more importantly, how it impacts on their everyday lives? How useful is it to apply a mixed-methods approach to finding answers to these questions? We explain why and how we used a mixed-methods approach and illuminate some of the issues we encountered. We demonstrate how mixed methods can provide not just complementary but also new insights into the topic under investigation. We hope that the case study encourages you to experiment, or at least consider, the potential of using mixed methods.

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