Mixed Methods

Mixed Methods in research talks about those areas in research that bring together or use more than one type of qualitative or quantitative technique for data collection and analysis. All the qualitative techniques of data collection which are commonly used, such as interviews, focus groups, observations are often found as having a lot of potential for exploration of new topics or making research teams familiar with newer areas.  To add to it they also provide assistance in building of theory, particularly in those studies where methods aggregating them are utilized. On the contrary, quantitative techniques work best in the isolation and the identification of the correlates that are associated with the variations and have key benefits in giving unexpected insights. There should be more emphasis in distinguishing between qualitative and quantitative research. As quantitative research and its data collection tools restrict its researcher to find out only about those things which are under examination by the researcher On the other hand qualitative research goes beyond the defined periphery to include even those elements that were not considered previously.

The mixed methods do much more than expanding the research tool box. They offer an opportunity to synthesize the research traditions and offer to the investigator all the more perspectives and insights which go beyond the limitations of any single technique. The data has to be not just collected using both qualitative and quantitative techniques but also has to be integrated, related and mixed at one of the stages of the research process. These kind of investigations have the advantages of very deep descriptions of the area of study and also help to contribute to the strength of quantitative research. Mixed methods guide themselves to more valuable opportunities and help in the complete transformation of the instrument design.

A structured template that could be used for the designing and assessment of the mixed methods study can be summed up into five criteria. These criteria are: rationale for mixing, the type of data collected and analysed, the preference between qualitative and quantitative research, the sequence of implementation and the different phases in which the study has to be integrated. It is beyond the previous methods of studies and opens up multiple newer avenues of study.