Mixed Methods Research: Merging Theory with Practice

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This accessibly written book is ideal for use in graduate courses or by practicing researchers and evaluators. The author puts the research problem at center stage, showing how mixed methods designs can fruitfully address different types of research questions. She illustrates the discussion with examples of mixed methods studies from a variety of disciplines and qualitative approaches (interpretative, feminist, and postmodern). The text demonstrates how to navigate ethical issues; gather, analyze, and interpret data; and write up the results, including an in-depth example with step-by-step commentary. Special features include "researcher standpoint" reflections from leading scholars and practical strategies to help users develop their own research perspectives. Every chapter concludes with a glossary, discussion questions, and useful Web resources.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"By ensuring that qualitative methods are given appropriate attention, this book fills an important niche in the growing literature on mixed methods. Hesse-Biber demonstrates strong mastery of both the epistemological and practical challenges of carrying out mixed methods studies. Her extensive experience shines through as she gives readers insights into both the challenges and rewards of this kind of research. The book successfully balances theory, methodology, and real-world praxis in its creative use of examples, exercises, and discussion questions."--Deborah K. Padgett, PhD, MPH, Silver School of Social Work, New York University

"I was especially impressed with the strong use of practical examples from actual research projects, both in the 'researcher standpoint' interviews and in the numerous case studies."--David L. Morgan, PhD, University Professor, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Portland State University

"Unique. This is the first book I have seen that presents a detailed strategy for mixed methods research that is grounded in a qualitative--rather than quantitative or pragmatist--framework. Explicitly connecting with feminist, critical, and postmodern perspectives, the book will be particularly helpful to qualitative researchers who see value in using some quantitative methods and data but who are turned off by the usual quantitatively oriented presentations of mixed methods research."--Joseph Maxwell, PhD, Graduate School of Education, George Mason University
"Four of the most serious problems in the social sciences are the fragmentation of research methods, the use of conventional methods for convenience, the lack of knowledge of qualitative methods, and naiveté regarding alternative philosophical frameworks. This book directly and competently addresses all four problems. It will help students and seasoned researchers learn to tailor methods to their research problems with sophisticated qualitative skills and philosophical perspective."--Frederick J. Wertz, PhD, Department of Psychology, Fordham University

"Hesse-Biber's perspective on mixed methods research is grounded in the qualitative tradition, which allows her to examine the use of theoretical frameworks such as feminism and postmodernism in mixed methods work. Students will especially benefit from the book's numerous examples and its inclusion of firsthand reflections from mixed methods researchers, who discuss their approaches and the challenges they have faced. The book combines in-depth theoretical perspectives with practical advice on the technical side of mixed methods research."--Donna M. Mertens, PhD, Department of Educational Foundations and Research, Gallaudet University

"This book is unique in its focus on how mixed methods may be utilized from various qualitative paradigms, including interpretative, feminist, and postmodern approaches. It is loaded with case examples and is written clearly for a graduate student audience. The treatment of ethics in mixed methods work is commendable."--Kai A. Schafft, PhD, Department of Education Policy Studies, Penn State University

"Finally, a text that guides the reader toward sensitively and ethically completing a mixed methods research project. The book is rich with examples of interesting qualitative research studies that illustrate mixed methods without jargon or mystery. Contemporary issues include managing human subjects review, working with stakeholders, publishing across the disciplines, and judging what is feasible in conducting a mixed methods study."--Nancy Grudens-Schuck, PhD, Department of Agricultural Education and Studies, Iowa State University 
"For both students and practicing researchers alike, [this book] will be an invaluable resource across a range of disciplines. Through its emphasis on the centrality of the relationship between theoretical perspective and research design, the book guides the reader into thinking reflexively about the theoretical perspective in which research questions are grounded as well as the researcher’s axiological standpoint, to ensure that they consider the impact these factors have on the knowledge produced by research. Through the presentation of three different theoretical positions: feminist, interactionist and post-modernist, and with the assistance of glossaries, worked examples, discussion points and suggested resources, Hesse-Biber presents complex theoretical ideas in a manner accessible to those new to mixed methods research as well as more experienced researchers wishing to explore qualitative approaches to mixed methods research. Arguably the biggest triumph of this book is its centering of qualitative approaches to mixed methods research in a field largely dominated by quantitative approaches. The first mixed methods book dedicated solely to the presentation of qualitative perspectives, it challenges not only qualitative researchers to consider the possibilities suggested by a mixed methods design, but also those undertaking mixed methods research from a primarily quantitative perspective to consider what a qualitative vantage point might offer research design. Overall, this book is comprehensive, readable, and importantly, challenging, to the field of mixed methods research where a systematic presentation of qualitative approaches has long been lacking."--Felicity Boardman, PhD, Research Fellow in Mixed Methods Research, Warwick Medical School, United Kingdom

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781606232590
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/5/2010
  • Pages: 242
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Sharlene Nagy Hesse-Biber is Professor of Sociology and Director of Women’s Studies at Boston College. She is also the founder and former Executive Director of the National Association for Women in Catholic Higher Education. She has published widely on the impact of sociocultural factors on women’s body image, as well as on feminist and qualitative research methods. She is codeveloper of the software program HyperRESEARCH, a computer-assisted program for analyzing qualitative data, and of the new transcription tool HyperTRANSCRIBE. Her article "Qualitative Approaches to Mixed Methods Practice" was the most downloaded article of 2010 in the journal Qualitative Inquiry.
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Table of Contents

1 Introduction to Mixed Methods Research 1

What Are Mixed Methods? 3

Why Use Mixed Methods? 3

Objectives of This Book 9

A Comprehensive Perspective on Mixed Methods 10

A Comprehensive Approach to Mixed Methods 11

The Need for Qualitative Approaches to Mixed Methods Research 14

Qualitative Mixed Methods Approaches: Some Examples 19

The Perils of Mixed Methods 21

The Practice of Mixed Methods: Behind the Scenes Stephen Borgatti 23

The Promise of Mixed Methods Research 24

Glossary 26

Discussion Questions 27

Suggested Websites 27

2 Formulating Questions, Conducting a Literature Review, Sampling Design, and the Centrality of Ethics in Mixed Methods Research 29

Researcher Reflexivity in the Question-Asking Process: The "Cart before the Horse" Metaphor 29

The Influence of Stakeholders in the Formulation of Research Questions 33

The Role of the Research Literature 35

Types of Research Questions 40

What Are Mixed Methods Research Questions? 44

Returning to the "Cart before the Horse" Metaphor: A Caveat 47

Approaches to Sampling Designs 49

The Centrality of Ethics in the Mixed Methods Research Process 55

Glossary 59

Discussion Questions 60

Suggested Websites 61

3 A Qualitative Approach to Mixed Methods Design, Analysis, Interpretation, Write Up, and Validity 63

What Is a Qualitative Approach lo Mixed Methods? 63

A Mixed Methods Qualitative Framework 64

A Qualitative Approach to Mixed Methods Research Design 67

A Qualitative Approach to Analysis and Interpretation of Mixed Methods Research 72

Guidelines for Mixing Methods at the Data Analysis and Interpretation Stage 75

Writing Up Mixed Methods Projects 82

Validity and Reliability in Mixed Methods Research 85

Appendix 3.1 Quantizing Qualitative Data 92

Appendix 3.2 Quantizing Quantitative Data 97

Glossary 99

Discussion Questions 101

Suggested Websites 101

4 Interpretative Approaches to Mixed Methods Research 104

The Practice of an Interpretative Approach to Mixed Methods Research: Case Studies 105

Why an Interpretative Approach to Research Uses a Mixed Methods Design 122

Challenges to Implementing a Mixed Methods Design and the Need for Researcher Reflexivity 124

Glossary 126

Discussion Questions 127

Suggested Websites 127

5 Feminist Approaches to Mixed Methods Research 128

What Is Feminist Research? 128

Mixed Methods and the Feminist Approach 132

Using a Feminist Mixed Methods Approach to Reveal Subjugated Knowledge and Silenced Voices 133

Using a Feminist Mixed Methods Approach to Understand Differences among Women 141

Using a Feminist Mixed Methods Approach to Empower Women's Lives 143

Using a Feminist Mixed Methods Approach for Social Change and Social Policy Transformation 145

The Need for Mixed Methods feminist Research Approaches 149

Glossary 151

Discussion Questions 152

Suggested Websites 152

6 Postmodernist Approaches to Mixed Methods Research Chris Kelly 154

What Is Postmodernism? 154

Postmodernist Questions and Mixed Methods Research Design 157

The Benefits of a Mixed Methods Design in Postmodern Research 169

Glossary 172

Discussion Questions 172

Suggested Websites 173

7 Putting It Together: Qualitative Approaches to Mixed Methods Research Praxis 174

Pulling It into Practice: Conducting a Qualitative Approach to a Mixed Methods Research Project 175

Step 1 Research Problem Stage: The Mixed Methods Research Problem 180

Step 2 Determining Your Mixed Methods Research Design 181

Step 3 Data Collection Stage 182

Step 3 Continued. Specific Data Collection Techniques 188

Step 4 Data Analysis and Interpretation 190

Step 5 Writing Up a Mixed Methods Study 197

Conclusion: Evaluating Your Mixed Methods Project 200

Appendix 7.1 Examples of Consent Forms 202

Glossary 204

Discussion Questions 205

Suggested Websites 205

8 Conclusion: The Prospects and Challenges of Mixed Methods Praxis 207

A Mixed Methods Tale 207

Confusing Methodology with Method 210

The Importance of Emergent Methods for Mixed Methods Research 212

The Challenges of Utilizing a Mixed Methods Approach 213

The Need for a Comprehensive Approach to Mixed Methods 215

Glossary 216

Discussion Questions 217

Suggested Website 217

References 219

Author Index 229

Subject Index 232

About the Author 239

About the Contributing Author 240

About the Researchers Interviewed 241

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