Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 5th 2015 Contents 12 UWI TODAY -- SUNDAY 5TH JULY, 2015
MIXED METHODS RESEARCH
BY JEANETTE AWAI
JA: So what does mixed methods research entail?
AO: Over the years, there have been two major
traditions in research: qualitative which is looking
at words, observations, etc. and the other is
quantitative which involves numbers and they've
been separate until the late '90s where we said,
why not do both to get the bigger picture? Mixed
methods is a way to get more out of your data and
answer more complex questions rather than just
doing one technique.
JA: Since this is a burgeoning eld, how did you
get involved in mixed methods research?
AO: My dissertation was really mixed. I was studying
anxieties related to testing and I did a mixed
methods study and didn't realise it because it was
natural for me so I started to read more about it
and write about it and I got a lot of rejection; it was
hostile actually -- I used to get mocked. A guy told
me "Tony you are such a rabble-rouser, when are
you going to realise that mixed methods is never
going to take o ?"
JA: He said this in front of the audience?
AO: Yes it was serious and it was difficult to get
published in the late '90s. I went up to a presenter
and said, "I have this article, it has mixed methods
and could you take a look at it?" and they were
impressed. It led to me co-authoring a chapter in
a Handbook in 2003 that was really pivotal and
helped to validate mixed methods.
JA: Is mixed methods research mainly done at the
postgraduate level or do you see it as cross-
disciplinary and applicable to teachers in high
AO: I think as early as possible. If we get students at high
school and allow them to solve problems using
di erent types of data, when they go to college and
beyond they will have that positive attitude.
CB: We use mixed methods in our daily lives to make
decisions all the time. When I give my assistant
a task to purchase something; she has to nd the
best price, do research, but I also want quality,
so she's going to use information that she nds
where people have spoken to the quality of a
product. I would not hire someone who could not
use mixed methods research. When we bifurcate
into qualitative vs. quantitative it creates a false
VJK: I just feel that mixed methods is very natural way
of life. Only when you reach a certain level of
postgraduate, you learn these words qualitative,
quantitative. But in every other aspect it's mixed,
you do it naturally.
If you ever bought a house, car or even a box-lunch you have used a mixed methods approach to getting to your decision without recognizing it! Review the process you
used to make the choice -- you investigated how popular, that is, how many people make the selection you are interested in (a quantitative research method) then you asked
around -- interviewed several others (a qualitative research method) on the key points that you think will inform your nal decision. is is the mixed methods approach to
research (a ectionately called MM by its proponents). Its versatility and naturalness to any research question is what makes this technique (or combination of techniques) a
rapidly growing movement in the world of scienti cally conducted research.
To keep with the trends, the School of Education presented a two-day workshop on mixed methods research at the School of Education at e UWI, St. Augustine in March,
2015. Facilitators were Professor Anthony Onwuegbuzie and Dr. Cindy Benge of Sam Houston University, Texas. Lecturers, research students and policy makers across
e UWI and other educational institutions attended.
UWI Today spoke with Prof. Anthony Onwuegbuzie and Dr. Benge along with School of Education Lecturer, Dr. Vimala Judy Kamalodeen about mixed methods research,
the state of research now and what they hope for the future.
JA: How would you get people who are xated
on one method or the other over using both
as a mixed method approach, to see it as the
most natural method and therefore as equally
scienti c methodology?
AO: ere was a mixed methods conference in Jamaica
and they had to grasp concepts very quickly and it
was very impressive. at was the best experience
I've ever had with students. A lot of students say --
"I just want to get it done" and we want you to get
it done too! I will make sure you don't take longer
than what is realistic because a lot of what we do
as methodologists is to trim the scope. We want
them to learn the skills so they can move on with
their research and their lives.
JA: From a legislative standpoint, do you
see policy-makers taking mixed methods
AO: That's a challenge we have because ultimately
numbers still prevail and we emphasise in our
students to make qualitative as rigorous and
integrative as possible so they can't separate it out
into two sets of tracks.
JA: What is next for the future of mixed methods?
ere is another conference in Texas, I told them to
use the Jamaica conference as a model. ere will be
three more conferences coming up - one in Texas,
Philadelphia and Japan. You can nd information
at http://mixed methodsira.wildapricot.org/. It's a
very exciting time for researchers.
JA: In closing, what would you say to people who
are still reluctant to embrace mixed methods
AO: It's inevitable like the phrase, "you want to be on
the right side of history;" you don't want to be the
one saying you can't do it, don't do it. In the future,
people are going to be doing what we're doing and
more, so why ght it? ey should embrace it and
join the bandwagon.
Jeanette Awai is a freelance writer and member of sta at e UWI's Marketing and Communications Department.
Professor Anthony Onwuegbuzie
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