Mixed methods research blends aspects of qualitative and quantitative research to address the research issue in a PhD dissertation. As they include the advantages of both methodologies, mixed methods can help you get a more comprehensive perspective than a solitary quantitative or qualitative study. Mixed methods research is a common methodology in social and natural sciences. Mixed methods research can be suitable for your research if the quantitative and qualitative methods are insufficient to address your research problem. This article will tell you about the best practices for mixed methods research in a PhD dissertation.
What Is Mixed Methods Research?
A mixed methods research design is a way for gathering, evaluating, and combining quantitative and qualitative research and methodologies in a unified analysis to address a research question. Compared to a study that only uses quantitative or qualitative research, this form of research can assist present a more comprehensive perspective. It enables the researcher to accumulate a broad range of information on a certain issue while balancing out the flaws that either approach alone would have.
When Should You Use Mixed Methods Research?
Mixed methods research is beneficial when the researcher seeks to achieve the following objectives:
- To add a qualitative dimension to an otherwise quantitative study.
- To progress a study from one stage to another.
- Investigate qualitatively, then create a tool.
- Follow up a quantitative investigation with a qualitative one to get more specific results.
- The researcher aims to integrate quantitative and qualitative data to delve deeper into a research issue.
- When a researcher tries to detect different outcomes and conflicts that may arise by looking at a research subject from a variety of angles.
- When the results of another method can adequately support the results of one approach.
- Because the sample size is typically lower for qualitative research, it cannot be generalised. The comparative advantages of large sample sizes and independently verifiable quantitative research in mixed methods research help to offset this relative shortcoming.
- By combining different methodologies, you can contextualise your data and give your conclusions more depth. You can give your study more substance by combining quantitative results with qualitative data.
- Using various techniques to gather information on the same topic might increase the credibility of your findings. If the qualitative and quantitative data agree, your conclusions are more likely to be accurate. This method is known as triangulation.
What Are The Different Mixed Methods Research Designs?
In the embedded design, broader quantitative or qualitative methods are used to collect and analyse both data types simultaneously. Based primarily on the primary data type, one data set will play a secondary supporting function in the study. It is a helpful strategy when you wish to conduct mixed-methods research but cannot do so due to time or cost constraints. You can also hire a PhD dissertation writing service to conduct the analysis through this research design.
The researcher undertakes this research approach’s qualitative and quantitative aspects concurrently, during the same stage of the research procedure. After equal representation and independent analysis of each approach, the outcomes are combined with being interpreted. In a concurrent parallel design, you simultaneously gather and evaluate quantitative and qualitative data. After completing the analysis, researchers compare the results to make a final judgement.
Data collection for this research design takes place over time in two phases. Researchers gather and analyse quantitative data after the qualitative data. Afterwards, researchers explain the initial qualitative results using the quantitative results. Researchers can use this approach to generate preliminary hypotheses and formulate preliminary questions. Researchers can then use the quantitative data to verify or validate the qualitative conclusions.
Contrary to exploratory research, this strategy entails collecting and analysing qualitative data after researchers collect and analyse quantitative data. Researchers use qualitative data to validate the initial quantitative results.
What Are The Best Practices For Mixed Methods Research In A PhD Dissertation?
Align your Research Goals with Mixed Methods Approach
Most academics would agree that choosing the best research methodology starts with the study topic and hypotheses. Usually, when problems are best addressed by combining qualitative and quantitative data, a mixed method study design should be employed. Quantitative methods may work best for examining frequency questions, whereas qualitative methods may work best for examining perception and opinion. Mixed techniques are preferable if the questions cover both of these topics. Additionally, the researcher can decide, possibly following a larger survey, to delve deeper into a particular segment of a community.
Justify The Significance Of Using A Mixed Methods Approach
It is imperative to justify the significance of using a mixed methods approach for research in a PhD dissertation. It is essential to establish the credibility of your research method. Credibility refers to claims that using both quantitative and qualitative methods improves the reliability of results.
Develop the Context
The context describes situations where the combination of qualitative research offers contextual insight, and either generalisable, externally valid findings or broad connections among variables discovered through a survey are justified. Moreover, it is imperative to illustrate that integrating quantitative and qualitative data enhances the research and provides deep insights into the issue.
Justify the Practical Implication
The idea that integrating the two approaches will make the results more beneficial to practitioners and other people justifies the practical implications of choosing the mixed methods approach. This idea is more likely to be featured in papers with a practical focus.
What Are The Advantages Of Using Mixed Methods Research In A PhD Dissertation?
Provides a Holistic View
Using quantitative and qualitative data in your study can give you a complete understanding of the subject matter. Additionally, you get to benefit from the data of both research methods. Due to the qualitative and quantitative data, your research will be comprehensive, contextualised, generalisable, and externally valid.
Enhance the Research Validity
In many cases, the advantages of quantitative data can counterbalance the disadvantages of qualitative data. For instance, qualitative data typically has relatively low validity because there is a chance for skewed interpretations. Quantitative data, however, does not have this flaw and instead has a high level of external validity. Therefore, combining the two approaches can make up for their shortcomings.
Mixed methods research is less tightly bound to established research paradigms. It gives you a greater choice when designing your study. With this versatility, you can combine elements of many studies to create a study plan that will yield the most illuminating findings.