Mixed Methods Benefits and Challenges of Qualitative, Essay

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Mixed Methods

Benefits and challenges of Qualitative, Quantitative and mixed methods approaches to research

Benefits and Challenges of Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Approach to Research

In any type of research, it is possible to characterize a research's study methodology as qualitative, quantitative, or one that involves the two methods, in which case it becomes a mixed method approach. Moreover, the term research design is popular in research, but it takes varied meanings in various studies. For instance, the term might refer to the entire research process in a given study, whereas in another study, it may refer to the applied methodology (Mary, Hanne and Frank, 2011). It is crucial for one to recognize a study's research design because the design communicates information, which is relevant to the study, and can vary for qualitative (Pop and Mays, 2000), quantitative and mixed methods. In addition, a key element, which is common across the research designs, is that one or more points, during the research process, there is collection of data in form of numbers, words, gestures, in various ways and for varied objectives (Giddings, 2006). Therefore, qualitative studies are studies, which gather and evaluate qualitative data. On the other hand, quantitative studies are studies that gather and evaluate quantitative data.

Qualitative Methods

Qualitative research methods aim at offering an understanding of the experiences, views, and thoughts of participants. In simple terms, this approach explores meaning, aim or reality. In other terms, qualitative research comprises of a set of interpretive and material practices, which make the globe visible to the observer. These practices transform the globe into representations, interviews, and photographs. Owing to this, it is apparent that qualitative researchers study things in their natural environment, and attempt to explain the phenomena using meanings given to them by people (Denzin and Lincoln, 2005, p. 3).

In addition, investigators describe qualitative research as one that allows a detailed exploration of a research problem in which the collected information by the investigator is by case studies, ethnographic work, or interviews. Moreover, qualitative research techniques are inductive, in the sense that an investigator may develop theories or hypotheses, explanations in the information given by a participant. Most importantly, there are several categorizations of research designs in qualitative research, but there is none, which investigators agree for using in a universal context. In addition, Creswell (2003) outlines strategies inquiry in qualitative methods and they include narratives, phenomenological studies, grounded theory studies, case studies and ethnographies.

Quantitative Methods

Quantitative research methods try to maximize objectivity, replication and generalization of the findings, and the methods show interest in prediction. In addition, to this approach is that the researcher might set aside their views, experiences and biases to ensure that the study achieves objectivity, especially in the drawn conclusions. The primary elements of many studies is the utilization of instruments, which may include tests, surveys to collect information, and the dependence on probability theory to test hypotheses that coincide with the research questions. In addition, investigators describe quantitative methods as deductive in nature because inferences from tests result to general inferences concerning the attributes of a given population (Lincoln and Guba, 1985).

Some of the categorizations of quantitative research designs abandon the evaluation of variance approach and depend on a trichotomy; randomized controlled trials (Schneider at al., 2007), where investigators assign the participants at random to treatment conditions, quasi-experimental designs and correlation designs. These categorizations tend to focus on the required conditions to justify strong contributory deductions (Schneider at al., 2007). In addition, these methods tend to involve phases, which show similarity to those outlined by Creswell (2003) for qualitative research, but they show substantial difference in aim and execution. Nevertheless, as Lincoln and Guba (1985) suggest, both qualitative and quantitative research methods stress on the truth, consistency, neutrality and applicability, although they follow different approaches to ensure quality.

Mixed Methods

A mixed method is an approach that uses the combination of both qualitative and quantitative research methods, in manners that bridge their variations when addressing a research problem. In addition, this approach is relatively new, whose philosophical and methodological foundations and practice have advanced since the 1990s. Johnson and Onwuegbuzie (2004), define mixed methods as a class of study where investigators mix quantitative and qualitative methods, models, notions or languages into a single study. It is an effort to make legal the use of several approaches in answering questions, rather than restraining the choices of investigators. This approach is…

Sources Used in Document:


Creswell, J.W. (2003). Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (2nd ed.).

Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Denzin, N.K., & Lincoln, Y.S. (2005). Introduction. In N.K. Denzin & Y.S. Lincoln (Eds.),

The SAGE handbook of qualitative research (3rd ed., pp. 1 -- 29). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

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