Mixed Methods of Research

Decent Essays
“If we knew what it was that we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?” Albert Einstein
Mixed methods research is fast becoming recognised as a third major research approach or paradigm alongside qualitative and quantitative research. Its philosophy is pragmatic, and in general terms it is an approach which attempts to acknowledge several perspectives, viewpoints and angles. Research methods are a fundamental component of the social sciences which facilitate the understanding of human behaviour. Grinnell (1993, as cited in Kumar, 2005, p.95) defines research as being a “careful, systematic, patient
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For some researchers however, taking such a scientific approach when studying our complex social world was not quite right.
Through the use of another more interpretivist approach researchers aim to understand human actions, not by assuming they are determined by external factors that can be measured, but by assuming that they are moulded through the meanings individuals have of the world (Henn et al., 2006). These interpretations however, are problematic to measure precisely and scientifically, therefore researchers must use more qualitative methods and personal involvement (Henn et al., 2006). There followed what became known as the paradigm wars which had, at its roots, the “paradigm purists who vociferously argued for the superiority of one method over another and the incompatibility of different approaches (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004, p. 88). Quantitative purists believe that social science should be objective while on the other hand qualitative purists reject positivism and argue for constructivism, idealism and relativism (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004).

The term ‘quantitative method’ refers largely to the adoption of the natural science experiment as the model for scientific research, its key features being quantitative measurement of the phenomena studied and
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