Triangulation of Mixed Methods

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Triangulation of Qualitative and Quantitative MethodsMixed Mess or Good Science? : 

Triangulation of Qualitative and Quantitative MethodsMixed Mess or Good Science? Sara Day, MSN, RN Nursing 913

Presentation Overview : 

Presentation Overview Triangulation: Background Types of triangulation Methods Triangulation Different paradigms Pros and cons Research Examples Preventing a Mixed Mess

Discussion Questions : 

Discussion Questions How could you incorporate one of the many types of triangulation into your proposal? Please include what precautions you would use to ensure good science versus a mixed mess. Should qualitative and quantitative methods ever be mixed? Please defend your answer.

Triangulation : 

Triangulation Term taken from land surveying implying that taking two readings will enable the position of an object to be pinpointed more accurately Metaphor for the worlds strongest geometric shape-the triangle

Triangulation : 

Triangulation Norman Denzin coined the term to refer to using multiple sources to converge on the truth. Denzin “I now offer as a final mehodological rule….multiple methods should be used in every study.”

Triangulation : 

Triangulation Denzin believes each method will reveal different aspects of truth.

Triangulation Types : 

Triangulation Types Data Investigator Theory Methods Focus: Methods Triangulation

Data Triangulation : 

Data Triangulation Use of a variety of data sources Time Space Person

Investigator Triangulation : 

Investigator Triangulation The use of different researchers or evaluators to analyze and interpret the data Collaboration can reduce the risk of biased interpretation Different investigators can bring to the table complementary skills

Caution : 

Caution Conflicting Paradigms

Theory Triangulation : 

Theory Triangulation Use of competing theories or hypotheses to interpret a single set of data Example: a researcher who develops competitive hypotheses while in the field

Method Triangulation : 

Method Triangulation Purely qualitative studies –combine data collection methods Observation Interviews Diaries

Method Triangulation : 

Method Triangulation Use of both quantitative and qualitative methods in a single study Methods are complementary- represent two fundamental languages

Quantitative and Qualitative MethodsDifferent Paradigms : 

Quantitative and Qualitative MethodsDifferent Paradigms Quantitative research synonymous with positivist worldview Qualitative research synonymous with constructionist worldview Purists believe that qualitative and quantitative research are based on incompatible paradigms

Mixed Methods: Pros : 

Mixed Methods: Pros Quantitative and qualitative data are complementary All methods are fallible, thus by combining methods, the weakness of a single approach may be overcome

Mixed Methods: Pros : 

Mixed Methods: Pros No single method ever adequately answers the question Each method reveals different aspects of truth Multiple methods-non overlapping weaknesses and complementary strengths Relying on one method-vulnerable to errors related to that method

Examples of Mixed Methods : 

Examples of Mixed Methods Instrument Development A study to develop a quality of life instrument for children with chronic illness Where do questions come from? Qualitative methods to generate questions Quantitative methods to validate the instrument Survey combined with in depth interviews

Examples : 

Examples Ream et al (2006) used mixed method design to study fatigue in adolescents with cancer Conclusion: mixed method design lent credence to study

Examples : 

Examples Packman et al (2005) used mixed methods design to understand how siblings are affected by cancer and to capture impact of summer camp Conclusion: both methods supported improved function in siblings who attended camp

Mixed Methods: Cons : 

Mixed Methods: Cons Philosophical Criticism of Mixed Methods Looking at an object from more than one view only produces truth in science with concrete physical objects Social reality-knowledge or truth is different from different perspectives and can’t be merged into a single truth

Pitfalls : 

Pitfalls Cost Time Investigator skills Data analysis More is not always better

Avoiding a Mixed Mess : 

Avoiding a Mixed Mess 1st Define your research question Determine appropriateness Review literature Why is single method not adequate Consult colleagues

Thoughts to Ponder : 

Thoughts to Ponder Should multiple methods be used in every study? Should the polar opposite worldviews never be mixed?

Thoughts to Ponder : 

Thoughts to Ponder Patton( ) cautioned that triangulation is an important research strategy but should be approached with reason and sound judgment.

Questions and Discussion : 

Questions and Discussion

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