Integrating quantitative and qualitative methods capitalizes on the strengths of each approach, and offsets their different weaknesses. Use of complementary paradigms promote corroboration of a research study, expand a set of results, or even discover something that would have been missed otherwise.Qualitative research explores the richness, depth, and complexity of phenomena. They aid in gaining critical insights, and unravel latent meanings by improving our comprehension of the whole. Interpretivism is the backbone of qualitative research.Quantitative research is generally used to investigate research questions. An array of possible quantitative research designs can be applied. However, in areas like sociology, where it is difficult to do pure experimental research, quasi-experimental, and non-experimental designs can be adapted.Research results have greater objectivity and credibility. Researcher’s bias can be eliminated. Data collection is structured, precise and quick. Research findings can be generalized if sufficiently large populations are sampled during data collection. Testing and the validating hypothesis is simpler and follows mathematical frameworks. Examples of quantitative research abound in marketing, finance, trend analysis and co-relational studies. For instance, studying the effect of a drug or treatment could follow tightly controlled experimental methodology; whereas, studying the effect of some disease on age, gender, life style would require co-relational approach. Abundant literature on quantitative research is available, (Sibanda, 2009) provides a comprehensive review.
Key considerations for mixed method design for research study:
Johnson and Onwuegbuzie (2004) articulate two typologies: mixed-model designs; and mixed-method designs. The authors contend that, mixed-model designs can be constructed by mixing qualitative and quantitative approaches within, and across the stages of research viz.: problem definition, data collection, and analyzing-interpreting data.
Mixed-method design on the other hand, the authors opine, are based on the crossing of paradigm emphasis, and time ordering of quantitative and qualitative phases. How much of the qualitative-quantitative mix, and at what stages of research, are a few key dimensions for mixed-method research model.
Caracelli & Greene (1997) proposed following framework for consideration of mixed-method approach in research study:
Different methods used concurrently, preferably with equal priority, to assess same phenomena toward convergence and increased validity
Different methods used for different phenomena; can be sequential or concurrent, equal or unequal priority, with paradigm assumptions important or