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  • 00:00

    [MUSIC PLAYING]One of the questions I often get is when should a personchoose a mixed methods approach versusthe quantitative approach or, perhaps,a qualitative approach?

  • 00:31

    This is a good question, and I think it's taken a lot of yearsto get some clarity about how we might answer this.And I'll attempt to talk about it here today.First of all, I think that mixed methods is useful,but either quantitative or qualitative data alonedoes not give a full understanding of the problem.

  • 00:58

    So by using mixed methods approachesand integrating the two approaches to data collection--quantitative and qualitative-- a persondevelops a more complete understandingof the research problem than either one by itself would net.So we know that quantitative research can give usthe broader trends, the broader generalizations,the specific variables with a large population,but we know that qualitative, too,can give us the more detailed views of individuals,participants, their voices and within the settingwhich they engage in the problems.

  • 01:37

    So bringing both of them togethergives us a better understanding.I think a person also uses mixed methods when they have a skilllevel in both quantitative and qualitative research,so they can bring the two together.This requires taking coursework or gained experiencesin quantitative research and gaining experiences or takingcoursework in the qualitative areas as well.

  • 02:07

    There are kind of a number of key characteristicsI think of qualitative research to lendthis to be an ideal design.First of all, a person needs to have both a quantitativeand a qualitative database.And I think both databases need to be gathered and usedin a fairly rigorous and persuasive way.

  • 02:31

    Then both databases are integrated together.They're brought together in a mixed methods study.Now the integration can either be merging the two databases,actually bringing them together so that they provideone common voice in understanding the problem,or it might be connecting the databases.

  • 02:54

    For example, I'm going to do a survey research followedby a focus group.Another way to think about these two databaseswould be that one could be a more supportive databaseembedded within a larger study.So we have qualitative data, for example, flowinginto an experimental project.

  • 03:16

    So integrating the two databases is a key concept.Further, there's philosophical assumptions that are behinddoing any form of research, and there'sa number of writers who've talkedabout the philosophical ideas in mixed methods research.And also, there are specific designs that have emerged.

  • 03:39

    So some of the designs that I've written about and talked aboutare a convergence design, where you merge the two databases,an exploratory sequential design, whereyou might start qualitatively and follow up quantitatively.We might reverse them, where we begin qualitativelyan exploratory sequential design,and then follow it with quantitative data.

  • 04:07

    Or we might embed one form of datainto another, such as a qualitative databaseinto an experiment.We're also getting today a number of studies where peopleare gathering both quantitative and qualitative databases,bringing them together, integrating them in some form,but casting them within a larger theoretical framework.

  • 04:32

    So for example, we can do a feminist mixed methods study,where we're gathering both forms of dataand using a feminist lens throughout our entire project.Or another form that's emerging that's very interesting now,and that would be what we call a multi-phase project, wherethe first project might be quantitative,the second qualitative, the third quantitative,the fourth qualitative.

  • 04:58

    We've got a number of projects flowing across timein the longitudinal design, wherewe are linking these different phases--a multi-phase mixed methods design.So we're thinking in terms of designs.So these are some of the central characteristicsin choosing the design-- having a study wheremore than just quantitative or more than just qualitativecan help us best understand the problem.

  • 05:28

    Integrating the two forms of data,pursuing both forms of data in a rigorous and a persuasive way,thinking about how we might link those two forms of data,and also how we might give priorityto one versus the other, using philosophical frameworks,and then also considering that there are multiple designpossibilities that have emerged now,so we can label our mixed methods design.

  • 05:57

    We can draw a visual picture of it.We have a notation system for it.These are some of the developments that have emergedin mixed methods research.

Video Info

Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Publication Year: 2011

Video Type:Interview

Methods: Mixed methods, Planning research, Philosophy of research

Keywords: generalization; time factors; understanding (cognition)

Segment Info

Segment Num.: 1

Persons Discussed:

Events Discussed:



Professor John Creswell explains when to use a mixed methods approach to research. Mixed methods approaches integrate quantitative and qualitative data to develop a more complete understanding of the subject.

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When should I choose a mixed methods approach?

Professor John Creswell explains when to use a mixed methods approach to research. Mixed methods approaches integrate quantitative and qualitative data to develop a more complete understanding of the subject.

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