The Mixed-Method Research: Strengths And Weaknesses

Research methodology is the key to the high quality of study and one of the determinants of its validity. In a way, methodology is the bridge between the aims and the outcome of the project. If this bridge does not correspond with the requirements imposed by the objectives, it will lead to a wrong direction. As a result, the findings become inconclusive, compromising the overall validity of the project. On the contrary, if the methodology fits the purpose of the research, this bridge creates a solid structure that substantiates the discussion and yields the desirable outcome. Because of this correlation, researchers concentrate on developing a methodology framework that will align with the aims and objectives of the study. It is expected that the methods should ensure a succinct discussion that answers the research questions, while utilizing as many tools as needed for this purpose.

In the domain of academic research, there are two key methodological types that are outlined. The first one is qualitative research that is suitable for explaining under-researched topics and providing new theoretical frameworks. It relies on such formats as systemic review of the literature, case studies, and interviews. The second type is quantitative research, which operates with numerical values. It applies statistics and other mathematical analysis models to explore the frequency, dependency, and other variables within an established conceptual framework. In most cases, these two categories serve their specific purposes without intersecting. However, academic research has seen many examples of the studies, in which qualitative and quantitative models of research come together within a single methodological paradigm (Adams, Khan, and Raeside, 2014). This scenario represents mixed-method research that makes use of the tools that are associated with both qualitative and quantitative models.

This approach possesses several prominent strengths that extend the potential of the study project. First of all, it combines two phases of data collection that are assigned equal priority. For example, in phase one, the researcher investigates the phenomenon by synthesizing the contemporary body of academic literature. During the second stage, the project employs empirical data that is subjected to statistical analysis in order to conclude whether theoretical assumptions correlate with the practical incidence of the phenomenon in question. As a result, the methodological paradigm becomes transparent with well-defined phases contribute to the traceability and replicability of the research (O’Gorman and Macintosh, 2015). Second, mixed methods contribute to the comprehensive coverage of the subject matter. The scope of qualitative and quantitative tools remains limited, but their combined use expands the possibilities for research. Third, the data on its own becomes more valid as it is contextualized and generalized at the same time through the benefits of qualitative and quantitative methods, respectively (Adams, Khan, and Raeside, 2014). A similar level of detail is hardly attainable through standard paradigms.

On the other hand, mixed-method research remains a powerful tool as long as it is utilized correctly. In academic research, it is vital to maintain the focus on the subject to keep the discussion pertinent to the central research question. Exclusively qualitative or quantitative paradigms are usually sufficient to accomplish this objective while staying on topic. When the methods are mixed, this inevitably expands the scope of the project, and this increase is not always reasonable. In many cases, mixed-method studies lose focus and attempt to grasp too much of the subject matter (O’Gorman and Macintosh, 2015). It is also a challenging task to maintain the balance between the two equally prioritized phases of research, and a failure to do so is detrimental to the whole project. In the end, the lack of focus translates into inconclusive findings that attempt to answer too many questions while not answering a single one. Therefore, a decision to implement mixed methodology into a project should be well-informed and justified.

Reference List

Adams, J., Khan, H.T.A. and Raeside, R. (2014) Research methods for business and social science students. 2nd ed. Sage, New Delhi.

O’Gorman, K. and MacIntosh, R. (2015) Research methods for business & management. A guide to writing your dissertation. 2nd ed. Goodfellow Publishers Ltd, Oxford.