To wrap up, let’s return to Stephanie and Joane’s story about deciding to order both Sukiyaki and Tonkatsu and share their meals to savour the ‘best of both worlds’. This story can serve as a helpful analogy for understanding the benefits and challenges of mixed-methods research.
First, just as Stephanie and Joane wanted to experience and enjoy the benefits of both dishes, mixed methods research combines quantitative and qualitative research methods to take advantage of the strengths of both approaches. Quantitative research focuses on collecting and analyzing numerical data, while qualitative research is concerned with exploring and understanding the meaning behind human experiences and behaviours. By combining these two methods, mixed methods research can provide a more comprehensive and nuanced understanding of a research question or phenomenon.
Second, sharing the meals allowed Stephanie and Joane to try multiple dishes without having to commit to just one. Similarly, mixed methods research allows researchers to explore a research question from multiple angles and with multiple data sources. This can help to ensure that the findings are robust and more fully capture the complexity of the phenomenon under study.
Finally, Stephanie and Joane would have needed to be mindful of portion sizes and ensure that everyone got a fair share. In the same vein, mixed methods researchers must carefully balance the use of quantitative and qualitative data in a way that is appropriate for the research question and goals. This requires thoughtful planning and design of the research study, as well as careful analysis and interpretation of the results.