Mixed methods

  • Created by: holly6901
  • Created on: 05-01-20 08:05


  • Hobson: Triangulation is the use of more than one method of research in order to assess the validity of one's research methods especially the data produced
  • Triangulation usually involves the use of a method which produces quantitative data. This may be primary or secondary data.
  • More often than not this is combined with a more interactive method such as unstructured interviews or observations which produce qualitative data.

Strengths of triangulation

  • Triangulation can be used to check the accuracy of the data collected by each method.
  • Qualitative data can produce hypotheses which can be checked using quantitative methods.
  • The two approaches can give a more complete picture of the group being studied.
  • Qualitative research can illustrate the data and focus on how and why the trends exist.
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Methodological pluralism

Methodological pluralism refers to the employment by the social researcher of more than one research method. The emphasis is not on the validity of the data, rather build up a more comprehensive picture of social life.

Such an approach is useful because the advantages of one method may partly overcome the limitations of another.

A good example of methodological pluralism is the case study

  • This is a technique which involves an in-depth study of a single example of whatever the sociologist is interested in.
  • This could be a person, group, community, nation or event
  • Usually, it will involve the sociologist using a range of primary and secondary data to build up a multi-faceted picture.
  • A case study may stand alone and use a range of primary and secondary techniques.
  • It may also be used as a technique itself. For example, Townsend's survey of poverty contains case studies of particular families and their experiences
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Limitations of mixed methods

  • It is expensive
  • It produces vast amounts of data which is difficult to analyse
  • The nature of the topic will dictate what methods are used and will rule out others
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