ISSN: 1998 - 4162

Book Review

 

Praxis and Proficiency in Mixed Methods Research: A Framework for Conceptualizing and Testing Integration of Qualitative and Quantitative Data and Analysis

Dr. Muhammad Zaki Rashidi

ISBN:
2014



Dr. Muhammad Zaki Rashidi

Mixed methods research has drawn much attention of researchers through its rapid development in the fields of social, behavioural, and human sciences; education and health studies; and business and management studies. Numerous researchers belonging to varying research communities are calling it "third methodological movement" which manifests that mixed methods research has been gaining popularity among the researchers in order to answer the complex research questions which alone either qualitative or quantitative research methods cannot answer satisfactorily. The real world scenarios often produce both qualitative and quantitative data; therefore, relying on only one type of data to answer complex research questions and investigating the reality through a single lens is not sufficient. In dealing with complex forms and varied nature of data, it is desired to transform the data to a form which can be dealt with the existing and established techniques of analysis, and understood by the wide community of researchers and audience. Currently, the non-availability of data transformation techniques and premature mixed-method designs impede the employment of mixed data analysis. Thus, the development of new tools and techniques to deal with complex data is the necessity of time and demands attention of the researchers. The purpose of this research study is to conceptualize, develop, implement, and validate data transformation, integration and analysis techniques in the domain of mixed methods research. It has also investigated the issues and problems during the stages of mixing qualitative and quantitative data and proposed a coherent framework to conduct a fully integrated mixed methods research. The core issue of the research is related to qualitative and quantitative data transformation, integration and appropriate analysis of blended data so that valid conclusions can be drawn from related but dissimilar forms of data. The research study revolves around investigating various methods of data transformation and integration; and testing the suitability of these methods in a given situation. For practical purpose, the research study is divided into two broad and sequential phases. Phase one is conceptual phase of the study which refers to conceptualization of research framework for mixed methods research design, development of tools for primary mixed data collection, and analysis of qualitative, quantitative and mixed data. The second phase of the study is empirical testing and implementation of framework design, data transformation tools and techniques developed in the first phase of research. It also encompasses the conceptualization and implementation of a research study to exhibit the praxis of the design, tools, and analysis developed to demonstrate practical implications and validate the proficiency of these tools. First phase of the study based on conceptualization of new techniques of data transformation has resulted in many quantitization techniques viz. binary, bipolar, semantic, aggregate, hierarchical, and dictionary-based continuous variables; and qualitization techniques are derived from profiling of the cases on the basis of descriptive, co-occurrence, relationships, multivariate, and distribution-based profiling. In second phase, an implementation study is planned related to effective teaching practices, and primary data is collected by using focus groups, interviews, observation and survey questionnaire. Both qualitative and quantitative data are collected and transformed by employing the quantitization and qualitization techniques, developed in first phase, to show the application and effectiveness of these methods.

The findings of the study reveal that the philosophical paradigms and world views that a mixed methods research inquiry may espouse has been identified as pragmatism, transformative approaches, or critical realism; besides this selection, it may take a theoretical lens from an emancipator), perspective. The choice of paradigm must match with the axiological stance a researcher adopts, and must be reflected through the method, methodology, paradigm, and practice. Therefore a mixed methods research can be planned, instead of stereotype pre-existing research design, to a loose framework of nine dimensions. These dimensions are: paradigm foundation, methodological approach, number of strands, level of interaction strands, types of implementation, stages of integration, priority of component, functions and purpose of research, and theoretical ideology. The second phase of the study, which is practical implementation of project to test the techniques conceptualized in first phase, is conducted to demonstrate the expediency of these techniques and process of implementation. These techniques proved to be practical in nature and provided valuable insight in the data, and categorically helped in integrating the qualitative data with the quantitative data. Data transformation techniques, by using quantization or qualitization process, developed and tested through an implementation study proved to be practical and consistent with the literature. The treatment of these techniques depends upon instrument adopted, volume, nature and form of data captured. Several quantitization techniques, developed in this study proved practical, useful, and authentic, but these tools are subjective in nature while implementing to the actual data. The quality and legitimacy of inferences drawn in qualitative and quantitative research studies are based on reliability, validity, transferability, credibility, and trustworthiness. The mixed research methods not just meet the requirement of these quality criteria, but have a legitimacy of meta-inferences drawn from individual and integrated strands. The limitations of the study at both conceptual and implementation phases are identified and their implications are reported to seek the extent at which it can help the researchers in practical situations. This study has conceptualized new techniques of data transformation but does not take into account all forms of textual data like historical data or narrative secondary data. The testing of techniques is done on a small scale to demonstrate the practical implementation rather the development of universal techniques for all forms of data. The implementation study is conducted in a certain environment with the greater care by the researcher; whereas, the replication of the study and utilization of techniques require similar for of care and control. The research study has not tested all possible integrated techniques in a given situation, nor has it applied the same technique to multiple situations to test the fidelity and robustness of the developed design. The implementation study is not used for generalization of the results rather to demonstrate the development of integrated framework and application of the new techniques of data transformation, integration, and analysis. The study recommends further investigating the areas of research philosophy and paradigm fit, mixed tools of data collection, mixed analysis techniques, and expanded set of skills and competencies for the researchers who are planning to undertake mixed methods research endeavours.





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