Mixed Methods

This course was very, very useful and helpful for me as a PhD student. — participant from India

This course provides a holistic framework for understanding the design of empirical research. It examines the practical issues of qualitative and quantitative methods research and explores the possibilities of using different sampling techniques, data collection methods, and methods for data analysis. Surveying the range of mixed methods ideas with an emphasis on planning and designing mixed methods studies, it combines the study of abstract methodology with the discussion of practical examples of mixed methods research.


Dates

This course was offered in 2012.


Instructor

Katrin Niglas (picture), Tallinn University


Detailed Description

The use of mixed methods designs has gained immense popularity in recent years. At the same time, the terminology and the concepts proposed to define and frame mixed methods research are growing increasingly varied and technical. This tendency brings with it some hidden problems which researchers have to face in their pursuit of expertise in methodological issues. This course demonstrates that poring over the logic of more traditional research strategies (e.g., survey, experiment, case study, ethnography, action research) and deconstructing research designs into their methodological aspects can facilitate the comprehension of essential issues in the methodological construction of empirical research and, thereby help researchers to cope better with the plurality of mixed methods designs proposed in the methodological literature.

The main aim of the course is to create opportunities for acquiring theoretical knowledge about various mixed research approaches and to develop participants' ability to evaluate the effectiveness of the use as well as their ability to apply mixed methods research designs. The course combines lectures with study group sessions where participants are expected to be actively involved and to do practical exercises related to the methodological issues, research instruments, and techniques discussed during the lectures.

The course starts by providing a holistic framework for understanding the ideas which have been central to the discussions of the relationship between quantitative and qualitative approaches. The roots of the debates are reviewed and the idea of a methodological continuum is introduced as a substitute for the concept of methodological paradigms. The need for an open and creative, but at the same time systematic and organized view of methodology is emphasized. Therefore, the essential components of research are discussed as well as general criteria for the evaluation of any type of research.

Before tackling advanced mixed methods designs, the general classification of research designs (i.e., theoretical, empirical, and design-based approaches) is revisited to show that mixing methods has been a tradition long before the mixed methods movement in methodology started.

The course concludes with more practical issues of mixed methods research. Some more advanced mixed methods designs are introduced, examples of mixed methods sampling and data collection strategies are discussed, and some methods for mixed methods data analysis are demonstrated.


Prerequisites

While there are no formal prerequisites for this course, participants can only learn how to successful mix methods if they have at least a basic background in qualitative and/or quantitative methods.


Requirements

Participants are expected to bring a WiFi-enabled laptop computer. Access to data, temporary licenses for the course software, and installation support will be provided by the Methods School.


Core Readings

Teddlie, Charles B., and Abbas Tashakkori. 2009. Foundations of Mixed Methods Research. Integrating Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches in the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Greene, Jennifer C. 2007. Mixing Methods in Social Inquiry. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Plano Clark, Vicki L., and John W. Creswell, eds. 2008. The Mixed Methods Reader. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.


Suggested Readings

Creswell, John W. 2011. Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research. 4th edition. Boston, MA: Pearson.

O'Leary, Zina. 2004. The Essential Guide to Doing Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

O'Leary, Zina. 2005. Researching Real-world Problems. A Guide to Methods of Inquiry. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.