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“Not all situations justify the use of mixed methods. (…)  What situations, then, warrant an approach that combines quantitative and qualitative research—a mixed methods inquiry? In general, research problems suited for mixed methods are those in which one data source may be insufficient. Further, results often need to be explained, exploratory findings need to be generalized, a primary experimental design needs to be expanded or enhanced, multiple cases need to be compared or contrasted, the participants need to be involved in the research, and/or a program needs to be evaluated. Over the years, authors in the mixed methods field have enumerated multiple reasons (also called rationales) for using mixed methods“ (Creswell 2018; Bryman, 2006)

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Scroll down to find information on:

  • Core characteristics

  • What are the advantages of using a mixed-methods approach for urban design?

  • How does big data fit within a mixed methods approach?

  • Choosing a design

  • What are some limitations and challenges I should be aware of?

  • Research methods and techniques

  • What are the necessary skills for me to acquire?

  • Key literature

Core characteristics

Core characteristics

  • When one single method does not answer the research question

  • When you need to further complete, compare, explore or validate results

  • Collect and analyse both quantitative and qualitative data

  • Mix two forms of data in different ways

  • You can give priority to one or both forms of data

  • Can be in a single study or in multiple phases of a study

What are the advantages of using a mixed-methods approach for urban design?

What are the advantages of using a mixed-methods approach for urban design?

  • Combined quantitative and qualitative provides more evidence

  • Triangulation, combining methods to supplement their respective blind spots and shortcoming (Creswell, 2013)

  • Either quantitative or qualitative may be insufficient by itself; initial results need to be further explained so a second method is needed to enhance a primary method

  • Quantitative and qualitative approaches provide different “pictures”

  • A need to describe and compare different types of cases

  • The project has multiple phases

  • Combines paradigms, allowing investigation from both the inductive and deductive perspectives, and consequently enabling researchers to combine theory generation and hypothesis testing within a single study (Jogulu and Pansiri, 2011)

  • Following Carmona's (2014) conceptualization of urban design as a "mongrel" discipline, and Marshal’s (2012) positioning in-between an art and a science, it can be argued that mixed methods is urban design’s "native" methodology allowing for integration and unity of results, moving away from traditional divisions into an ontological understanding

How does big data fit within a mixed methods approach?

How does big data fit within a mixed methods approach?

Mixed method research has emerged as a new research paradigm alongside qualitative and quantitative research, with its own methodology and procedures that is worth getting to know. The important point to note here is that using different methods is not simply a matter of using multiple techniques (like interviewing, observation, surveys) and amalgamating the data and then adding up the results to form a set of findings; rather, think very carefully as to how the results are being combined, and what findings, or questions, arise. Also, do not confuse mixed-methods with ‘multimethod’, as the latter means the use of multiple techniques and/or procedures.

Choosing a design

Choosing a design

Creswell (2015) provides us with three fundamental designs for mix method research. These designs are; convergent design: where qualitative and quantitative data is merged; explanatory sequential design: where quantitative data is gathered first then followed by a qualitative data strand to explain the quantitative results; and exploratory sequential design where qualitative data collection informs the design of quantitative phase of the investigation.

What are some limitations and challenges I should be aware of?

What are some limitations and challenges I should be aware of?

  • Practicing Reflexivity: Reflect on your own standpoint within the research process

  • Understanding of multiple paradigms and assumptions underlying each research method

  • Colligation: expertise in the process of selecting and integrating findings and/or events into a coherent narrative

  • Semantic incommensurability: When operating with different methods at the same time, you will need to consider carefully how different

  • Disciplines/approaches may be incompatible since competing theories are unable to be compared (or share standards to be evaluated) due to a semantic variation between them

  • Knowledge of various research methods used

  • Ability to understand and interpret results from the different methods

  • Working knowledge of analytic procedures and tools related to both quantitative and qualitative research

  • The time involved in a mixed-methods research and its importance in answering the research question (this means that if it is a short project then it may not be practical to do)

Research methods and techniques
What are necessary skills for me to acquire?

Research method and techniques 

  • Methods and techniques are borrowed from qualitative and quantitative approaches

What are necessary skills for me to acquire?

Key Literature

key literature

  • Creswell, J.W. (2015) A Concise Introduction to Mixed Methods Research. Sage, London.

  • Greene JC, Valerie J, Caracelli, Graham W.F. (1989) Toward a conceptual framework for mixed-method evaluation designs. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis (11), pp. 255–274. 

  • Johnson R., Onwuegbuzie A., Turner L. (2007), Towards a Definition of Mixed Methods Research, Journal of Mixed Methods Research, vol. 1(2), pp. 112-133

  • Ridenour C. S. and Newman I. (2008) Mixed Methods Research: Exploring the Interactive Continuum,  Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press

  • Tashakkori A., and Newman I. (2010) Mixed Methods, in: Peterson P, Baker E. and McGaw B. (eds.) International Encyclopedia of Education, 3rd ed., pp.514-520

NEWS, IDEAS & inspiration

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