“Moving Beyond Qualitative and Quantitative Methods”: Experimenting Sequential Mixed Methods while Studying Spirituality
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Researchers in social sciences often choose from qualitative, quantitative or mixed research methods while working on empirical research projects. It is often argued that in mixed methods designs, bias or weaknesses that are associated with a particular approach are expected to be balance each other (Creswell, 2013, p. 18-19). As mixed research methods blends quantitative and qualitative methods while studying the same event to be able to get a fuller understanding of the issue, mixed methods researches usually result in more profound findings because of “methodological pluralism” or “eclecticism” manifests (Johnson and Onwuegbuzie, 2004, p. 14). This study aims to discuss and present potentials that combine qualitative and quantitative methods. To be able to examine the argument above, issues regarding the design and major components of basic sequential mixed methods studies are discussed throughout this writing. Those issues may be summarized as decisions about the model and priority of methods, mixed methods sampling, timing, order, and sequence in different stages of the research as well as the issues related to the integration of both methods and databases. To carry out this discussion, this thesis will provide the necessary arguments and definitions in the literature on methodological challenges of mixed methods approach in addition to theoretical framework for the illustrative research which is designed to study “spirituality”. As spirituality is a hard-to-grasp and rather sensitive subject with relatively small study population available, different aspects of mixed methods approach seemed to be suitable to reflect on it. Thus, this writing will be able to provide examples and illuminate the steps of sequential mixed methods researches and providing a discussion that is beyond theoretical. Combining different elements of these established methods and considering the solitary advantages, this research project will try to test the argument presented as well as the necessary design steps along the way.