Writing for Publication: Transitions and Tools that Support Scholars’ Success - Mary Renck Jalongo, Olivia N. Saracho 2016
Writing the Methodology Section in Mixed Methods Research
From Mixed-Methods Research to a Journal Article
Conference Proposals and Article Types
The methodology section provides enough information to understand how the study was conducted. It includes how the participants, data collection techniques, and data analysis were selected and used. Such information helps researchers enhance the credibility, validity, and readability of the study.
The participants and the rationale for their selection need to be described in detail to establish the credibility and validity of the study. For example, it is important to let readers know who the participants were, where they live, how many participated, and any other relevant information. A description should also be provided about the initial and final sample sizes for both the qualitative and quantitative portions of the study (Leech, 2012). Here is an example of how to write the descriptions of participants and settings:
Participants were 912 college students who were attending a midsize public university in a midsouthern state. The sample size represented 10.66 % of the student body at the university where the study took place. These students were enrolled in 68 degree programs (e.g., education, mathematics, history, sociology, dietetics, journalism, nursing, prepharmacy, premedical) that represented all six colleges. The sample was selected purposively utilizing a criterion sampling scheme… The majority of the sample was female (74.3 %). With respect to ethnicity, the respondents comprised Caucasian American (85.4 %), African American (11.0 %), Asian American (1.0 %), Hispanic (0.4 %), Native American (0.9 %), and other (1.3 %). Ages ranged from 18 to 58 years (M = 23.00, SD = 6.26). With regard to level of student (i.e., undergraduate vs. graduate), 77.04 % represented undergraduate students. A total of 76 students were preservice teachers. (Onwuegbuzie, Witcher, Collins, Filer, Wiedmaier, & Moore 2007, p. 123)
The university where the study took place was established in 1907 as a public (state-funded) university. Containing 38 major buildings on its 262-acre campus, this university serves approximately 9,000 students annually (8,555 students were enrolled at the university at the time the study took place), of whom approximately 1,000 are graduate students. The university’s departments and programs are organized into six academic colleges and an honors college that offers an array of undergraduate and master’s-level programs as well as select doctoral degrees. The university employs more than 350 full-time instructional faculty. It is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a Masters Colleges and Universities I, and it continues to train a significant percentage of the state’s schoolteachers. (Onwuegbuzie, Witcher, Collins, Filer, Wiedmaier, & Moore 2007, pp. 123—124)
Activity 9.7: Writing the Description of the Participants and the Setting
Make a list of relevant details about the participants and the setting for the study you have in mind. Then, using the preceding examples, draft that section of a mixed methods research report.
During the last decade, a surplus of mixed methods research designs have emerged. Novice and experienced researchers encounter the challenge of finding and selecting the best possible mixed methods research design for their study. When describing the design, be certain to include: (a) the framework, (b) the rationale for choosing it, and (c) any discrepancies between the chosen design and those used by other researchers. As you write about the design, give attention to the quantitative and qualitative aspects, the specific design used for experimental and quasi-experimental research, and the precise disposition of the research designs (Leech & Onwuegbuzie, 2010). Here is a sample description:
The mixed-methods research design used in this investigation could be classified as a fully mixed sequential dominant status design. This design involves mixing qualitative and quantitative approaches within one or more of, or across, the stages of the research process. In this study, the qualitative and quantitative approaches were mixed within the data analysis and data interpretation stages, with the qualitative and quantitative phases occurring sequentially and the qualitative phase given more weight. (Onwuegbuzie, Witcher, Collins, Filer, Wiedmaier, & Moore 2007, p. 125)