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Cameron Neylon [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

Qualitative and Quantitative Research: Rationale

The integration of qualitative and quantitative research has become very common now a days. This integration has resulted in unexpected but outstanding results in the field of research. The combination of qualitative and quantitative research led to three major approaches of research: Quantitative; qualitative; and qualitative and quantitative research. This integrated research is also known as mixed methods, multi methods, or multi strategy research.

In the earlier stages of the development of this approach researchers explored the typologies of this research. The focus of today’s mixed method researchers is to understand the rationale for combining qualitative and quantitative research. The aim of the mixed-method research is to get improved research methodology that is not possible single-handedly with either quantitative research or qualitative research. Mixed-method researchers can employ mixed-method techniques in any stage of the research process: 1). they can use it in the problem formulation and hypothesis construction phase of the research, 2). they can use it in the data collection phase of the research, and/or 3). they can use it in the data analysis and interpretation phase of the research. It goes without saying that with each new day improvements are coming in the way mixed methods research is conducted.

Enhanced validity

One major aim of the use of mixed-methods research is to enhance the validity of the research. The use of mixed-methods research can help the researcher achieve corroboration in the research. In qualitative research the researchers use different methods to achieve corroboration, combining quantitative and qualitative methods in research can help the researcher achieve corroboration.

Adds elaboration

Mixed-method research enhances and elaborates data collection, results, and data analysis. It clarifies and answers complex questions that could not be solved using one method. The researcher can triangulate data by the use of multi-method approach. Both the methods add mutually to the enhancement and elaboration of the research.

Expands knowledge

The use of two methods help in the expansion of the ways in which problems can be solved. The answers to one part of the inquiry (solved by using one approach) can be addressed to another part of inquiry (solved by using another approach) to solve the main issue under consideration.

Improves strengths of methods

The use of quantitative and qualitative research in one study helps in eliminating the weaknesses of methods. Both qualitative research and quantitative research have their  strengths and weaknesses combining both methods can help in eliminating the weaknesses of each method. The result is a more stronger method to conduct research.

Brings completeness

The use of two methods together brings completeness to a research. Qualitative and quantitative methods can help solve a big social problem that could not be solved by using one method. Both methods can become parts of jigsaw puzzles that can help solve a big problem. Proper use of both methods in a research can complement each other.

Adds credibility

It goes without saying that the use of both methods together adds to the credibility of the research. The integrity of the findings improve and the readers can rely on the results of the study.

Hypothesis generation

The use of mixed methods research help solve the problem of testing hypothesis in the otherwise qualitative research. The researcher can generate hypothesis in a social science research and can test it by using quantitative methods.

Increased utility

The utility of the findings is enhanced by the use of both of these methods. The resultant findings are more credible and have wider appeal.

Answers from two perspectives

The use of both methods simultaneously in a research can help achieve answers from two different perspectives. This can help the researcher get more authentic answers to the research question. This can also help in the validation of the findings.  Qualitative data always provides deeper meaning of the social context. Quantitative data helps the researcher in constructing and testing hypothesis. There are many other ways in which the integration of bot approach can improve the methodology and results of the research.

It should be noted that the researcher should be able to provide the rationale of using mixed methods research to the readers. The researcher should use strong words that describe the justification for the use of both approaches in one research.

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