Writing for Publication: Transitions and Tools that Support Scholars’ Success - Mary Renck Jalongo, Olivia N. Saracho 2016
From Mixed-Methods Research to a Journal Article
Conference Proposals and Article Types
Mixed methods research has been referred to as the “third paradigm” because, at its best, it is a skillful blend of the first two research paradigms: quantitative and qualitative. This chapter begins with the validity issues that need to be addressed when seamlessly merging research methods with distinctively different philosophies and methods. It then supports the reader in writing each component of a mixed methods research article. The chapter includes: activities that build insight into the third paradigm, specific examples drawn from the published literature, and guidelines for composing each component of the written report. The chapter concludes with identifying suitable outlets for mixed methods research and supplying criteria for evaluation of the mixed methods journal article.
A researcher wants to study how the professionals in her field develop an ethical code and professional dispositions. There is a quantitative dimension to her basic questions, namely, do they know the main components of the code and can they pass an objective item test on it? There is also a qualitative aspect to her question: Do they, when faced with an ethical decision during their practicum, turn to the code as support for their actions? When conducting research, there are many situations such as this one where quantitative approaches alone and qualitative approaches alone will not suffice. Mixed methods research combines qualitative and quantitative methodologies, which is a research paradigm that is gaining acceptance and use across disciplines (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011). Such recognition is observed in the publications found in journal articles, conference proceedings, and books as well as the founding of several mixed methods research journals (e.g. International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches, Journal of Mixed Methods Research) and the establishment of special interest groups in professional organizations (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011). In addition, the publication of the Handbook of Mixed Methods in Social and Behavioral Research (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 2010), which is the most comprehensive textbook in this area, has provided researchers with some theoretical and practical tools for conducting mixed methods research. Mixed methods research (also referred to as mixed research) is sometimes referred to as the third research paradigm since qualitative and quantitative are the initial two paradigms (Johnson, Onwuegbuzie, & Turner 2007). Mayring (2007) calls mixed methods research “a new star in the social science sky” (p. 1); “it is an intuitive way of doing research that is constantly being displayed through our everyday lives” (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011, p. 1).
Watch the YouTube video of John Creswell, a leading textbook author and editor/founder of the Mixed Methods Research Journal, answer the question: What Is Mixed Methods Research? Posted at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OaNiTlpyX8.
To illustrate the complementarity of quantitative and qualitative approaches, consider the metaphor of commentators at a national sporting event. Most of the time, they work in teams of two people. One person is primarily responsible for describing a linear, play-by-play unfolding of the game (a more quantitative approach). The second team member—often referred to as the “color commentator” highlights individual stories and details about the individuals on the playing field (a more qualitative point of view). The contributions of each member of the broadcasting team are equally valuable (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011). Together, they offer a version of “mixed methods thinking” that results in two different, yet complementary perspectives of the same phenomenon. At its best, mixed methods research “actively invites us to participate in dialogue about multiple ways of seeing and hearing, multiple ways of making sense of the social world, and multiple standpoints on what is important and to be valued and cherished” (Greene, 2007, p. 20). The third paradigm fulfils its potential when it affords researchers the opportunity to better address their research questions (or problems), when they are able to appreciate its usefulness while using it and when they are well aware of its challenges (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011).
The purpose of this methodological chapter is to (a) describe mixed methods research as the third research paradigm in educational research, (b) review several approaches in writing the research report, (c) describe a theoretical framework with examples for writing a publishable mixed methods research article, (d) identify possible outlets to publish research reports, and (e) provide a way to evaluate the quality of a mixed methods research report.
Southern Alabama University has posted a document that analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research at: http://www.southalabama.edu/coe/bset/johnson/lectures/lec14.htm.