Descriptive research design, mixed methods, and meta-analysis
The use of quantitative and qualitative methods in a single study or series of studies is becoming increasingly common, as researchers seek to gain a comprehensive understanding of their research topic. By combining these two methodologies, researchers are able to identify both the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of their chosen field. Quantitative data provides numerical information which can be used to measure variables within an empirical framework. It can capture large-scale patterns and allows for broad generalizations about particular phenomena. Qualitative data meanwhile reveals the experiences, opinions, beliefs and values that inform behaviour, giving context to quantitative results. In addition, it can also provide an explanation for what has been revealed through quantitative analysis by offering an insight into how individuals interpret reality.
When applied together in a single study or series of studies, quantitative and qualitative methods offer numerous advantages for gaining a comprehensive view on any research topic. Firstly, they create synergy between each other; while one methodology may reveal answers that could not be uncovered by the other alone (e.g., numerical accuracy versus personal interpretation), they also often uncover similar findings when cross-referenced with each other – ensuring reliable results are obtained from both perspectives simultaneously. Secondly, they help researchers overcome certain limitations such as sample size constraints associated with using solely one method over another; by using both at once more detailed information can be gathered despite smaller sample sizes being utilised due to time/budgetary restraints etcetera. Finally incorporating both approaches into one project offers multiple opportunities for triangulation – confirming validity by comparing different sources until accurate representations emerge from all angles – leading to relatable insights about specific phenomena that would otherwise remain unknown or at least less tangible had only one methodology been employed.