STRATEGIES TO PERFORM A MIXED METHODS STUDY

Fernando Almeida

Abstract


Mixed methods research is an approach that combines both quantitative and qualitative methods into a single study in order to provide a broader and more complete vision of a problem. Mixed methodologies are employed when both comparative analysis and the development of aspects of the study need to be undertaken comprehensively and in depth. The use of mixed methods turns possible to overcome the limitations of quantitative and qualitative methodologies, allowing the researcher to get rich information that could not be obtained using each method alone. However, the number of published scientific studies addressing the use of mixed methods is limited, and most of them focus on describing a single implementation approach without giving a global and comparative overview of the various approaches. In this sense, this study tries to synthesize and describe each of the mixed methods approach, also providing indications about the advantages and limitations of each of these approaches. In total, ten mixed methods approaches are identified that can be grouped into four major groups: (i) sequential design; (ii) concurrent design; (iii) multiphase design; and (iv) multilevel design. It was also possible to conclude that although each mixed method design presents specific advantages and limitations, sequential approaches are easier to adopt since they facilitate the integration process of both studies but generally lead to higher implementation time. On the other hand, concurrent design typically leads to greater difficulties in the integration of both studies, but they speed up the development process, because quantitative and qualitative can be executed in parallel. Finally, multiphase and multilevel designs are emergent approaches that are used in more complex studies in which it becomes necessary to consider several dimensions of analysis.

 

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research methods, mixed methods, research process, quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis

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References


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