The purpose of this course is to introduce basic methodological and epistemological principles to effectively integrate quantitative and qualitative research methods in a research project.
The objective is to examine the main reasons, principles and practical ways to integrate various qualitative and quantitative research methods in a single study. Participants will learn methods and techniques to effectively use various types of mixed methods designs and apply these to real-world research problems.
To start with, we will briefly examine the basic characteristics of each, qualitative and quantitative research traditions, particularly focusing on their complementary assets. Further, we will study the paradigmatic issues around mixed methods research (i.e. paradigmatic war, incompatibility thesis and how to overcome this problem). Next, we will examine the basic and advanced mixed method designs, introduced to the field by various researchers (e.g. Creswell, Tashakkori and Teddlie, Brannen, Bryman, Morgan, Greene etc.). A special attention is given to discuss and distinguish between triangulation and complementary use when integrating various methods.
The course includes a detailed discussion, along with illustrations, on:
• various basic and advanced (only briefly) mixed method designs and when to use which;
• the principles of basic integration;
• sampling strategies in mixed methods studies;
• specific principles of data collection in mixed methods studies;
• strategies for data analysis in mixed methods studies;
• report writing and interpretation in mixed methods studies;
• the discussion on data quality standards and how integration influences the quality of results in mixed methods studies.
The usage of integration will be demonstrated on all level of a research process: formulation of research problem/question, data collection, data analysis, interpretation. We also look into disadvantages or limitations of mixed methods and when best not to use such an approach.
Alongside offline research, we will also study an online mixed methods approach, which offers a new opportunity to increase the flexibility of the research design. The course will also be practice- oriented, as participants will conduct a hands-on small-scale research study.
After having completed the course, participants will be able to:
1.) Understand the principles of integrating qualitative and quantitative methods offline and online; understand the underlying purposes of integrations: triangulation, complementary use.
2.) Engage into practical usage of basic and advanced mixed method designs and apply these designs to real world problems in their research field.
3.) Understand mutual and complementary assets of qualitative and quantitative research methods.
The more advanced issues will only be mentioned but not explained into details as there is a more advanced Multi-method course in ECPR Winter School. Also, we will not cover in detail any software for data analysis techniques as we will focus more on data collection and research design in general in Mixed Methods Research.
The course will consist of lectures and home assignments. For facilitating discussions in the lectures, participants will be expected to read, on a daily basis, selected texts about methodological issues, to critically analyse mixed methods studies focussing on the use of research methods, and to conduct some practical exercises related to the preparation of some research instrument or technique. As a home assignment, participants will be expected to compose and submit a methodological plan for a mixed methods study, which may be (ideally) their own research project or an imaginary project envisioned only for training purposes.