Social. Research. Methods. Alan Bryman. Fourth edition. 1 . 27 Mixed methods research: combining quantitative and qualitative research Images/Framework_for_Research_Ethics_tcmpdf (accessed 5 July ) . Social Research Methods This page intentionally left blank Social Research Methods Alan Bryman Fourth edition 1 3 Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP. This introduction to research methods provides students and researchers with unrivalled coverage of both quantitative and qualitative methods.

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Social research methods - Bryman, Alan, Book | Suggested for .. http:// Seminar Task To. Bryman: Social Research Methods, 4 th edition. © Oxford University Press, All rights reserved. Glossary. Abduction. A form of reasoning with strong ties. Alan Bryman-Social Research Methods, 3rd sirochaterfarm.tk13 - Download as PDF File .pdf) or view presentation slides online. Alan Bryman- Social.

To a very large extent, these two research traditions be they indicative of epistemological or technical positions can be thought of as divergent genres, especially in regard to their modes of presenting research findings and programmatic statements. Of course, they are more than merely literary devices; but it is difficult not to be struck by the different styles of exposition that practitioners of the two traditions espouse.

The employment of a scientistic rhetoric—experiment, variables, control, etc. In short, such linguistic devices act as signals which forewarn the reader about the material to come.

By contrast, the self-conscious endorsement by many qualitative researchers of styles of presentation and literary devices which entail a rejection of a scientific rhetoric can be seen as a countervailing genre. Through their rejection of a scientific idiom and their recourse to the style of qualitative research they signal their adoption of a different framework and expect their work to be read and judged within the confines of that framework.

A Comparison of Two Studies Many of the points adumbrated thus far can be usefully illustrated by reference to two studies which exemplify the contrasting orientations which lie behind the quantitative and qualitative traditions in social research.

Of course, the choice of studies is bound to be arbitrary, in that many other examples of reported pieces of research could have been selected as alternatives. He used a social survey in order to achieve his aims. Great care was taken in the selection of the sample to ensure that it adequately represented the range of schools in the area, as well as the gender and race distribution of the children in the population. The bulk of the data was collected by a self-administered questionnaire which was completed by the students.

In addition to questions relating to social background, the questionnaire comprised a great many questions designed to tap the extent to which children were committed or attached to the school, to the family, and to conventional lines of action, in order to test the social control theory which had been formulated. There is a clear concern to be able to demonstrate that the sample is representative of a wider population of school children, though the question of the representativeness of the region in which the research is located is given scant attention.

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But Hirschi is rarely content to leave his data analysis simply at the level of estimates of co-variation or correlation among the variables concerned. Much of the time he is concerned to extricate the causal relationships among his variables.

These causal paths are winkled out by multivariate analysis which allows the analyst to sort out the direct and indirect effects by controlling for intervening variables and the like. In the end, Hirschi finds that none of the three theories of delinquency emerges totally unscathed from the empirical interrogation to which they were submitted.

For example, the control theory seems to neglect the role of delinquent friends which his data suggest has considerable importance. Hindelgang, They soon made friends with a close neighbour Dave, a pseudonym , who, it transpired, was a drug dealer.

Although I did not deal, myself, I participated in many of their activities, partying with them, attending social gatherings, traveling with them, and watching them plan and execute their business activities… In addition to observing and conversing casually with these dealers and smugglers, I conducted in-depth, taped interviews, and crosschecked my observations and their accounts against further sources of data whenever possible.

Adler, , pp. Rather, she suggests that they are motivated by a quest for the fun and pleasure which are the products of involvement in the world of upperlevel drug dealing. Adler portrays the drug dealers she studied as hedonistic: the copious drugs and their associated pleasures, the ability to afford vast numbers of material possessions, the availability of many sexual partners, considerable freedom and status, and so on, constitute the sources of their motivation.

The general orientation of the dealers to the present and their ability to fulfil numerous desires for both experiences and possessions more or less immediately deters many from leaving the world of drug dealing while attracting many newcomers to it.

When you have too much money you always have to have something to spend it on.

Here then are two highly contrasting studies. They are both about deviance and purely by chance both were carried out in California and reflect sociological concerns.

Alan Bryman-Social Research Methods, 3rd Edition-OxfordBryman.Kafli13

But in style and approach to social research they are very different. Hirschi seeks to test the validity of theories; Adler seems to let her subjects form her focal concerns while retaining an awareness of the literature on deviance and drug use. The list of contrasts could go further, but these are some of the chief elements. But what is the status of these two studies, and more particularly of the comparison between them, in terms of the question of whether quantitative and qualitative research reflect different philosophical positions?

Alternatively, we may prefer to see these two researchers as being concerned with different facets of deviant activity—Hirschi with causes, Adler with life-style —and as having tailored their methods of data collection and approaches to data analysis accordingly.

According to the second view, the choice between quantitative and qualitative research is a technical decision. This contrast between epistemological and technical versions of the debate about quantitative and qualitative research will be a prominent theme in later chapters. Plan of the Book For the undergraduate and often the postgraduate too the terms of the debate about quantitative and qualitative research are often difficult to absorb. In Chapters 2 and 3, I map out the main characteristics of quantitative and qualitative research respectively, as well as what are taken to be their philosophical underpinnings.

I will not go into excessive detail about the philosophical issues, but will try to show how they are supposed to have implications for research practice within each of the two traditions. In Chapter 4, I explore some of the problems in implementing the qualitative approach.

This chapter allows the distinctiveness of the qualitative approach to be explored in greater detail. Chapter 5 outlines the contrast between quantitative and qualitative research and assesses the validity of some of the claims about the link between philosophical issues and research practice.

Chapter 6 deals with the often encountered suggestion that we really ought to try to combine the relative strengths of the two approaches. In Chapter 7, I look at the problem of building up a total picture of research findings in fields in which both research traditions are pursued in conjunction.

As suggested in the previous chapter, this research tradition is usually depicted as exhibiting many of the hallmarks of a natural science approach.

One of the main purposes of this chapter will be to examine the degree to which the characteristics of quantitative research are a product of a natural science approach.

Quantitative research is associated with a number of different approaches to data collection. In sociology in particular, the social survey is one of the main methods of data collection which embodies the features of quantitative research to be explored below.

This means that data are collected on a cross-section of people at a single point in time in order to discover the ways and degrees to which variables relate to each other. The social survey approach contrasts with experimental designs, which constitute the main approach to data collection within the tradition of quantitative research in social psychology.

In an experiment, there are at least two groups to which subjects have been randomly allocated: an experimental and a control group.

The logic of experimental design is that the former group is exposed to an experimental stimulus the independent variable but the control group is not. Any observed differences between the two groups is deemed to be due to the independent variable alone, since the two groups are identical in all other aspects. Thus an investigator may be interested in whether autonomy or close control leads to more rapid task attainment.

In all other respects such as the nature of the task, the experimental setting, and so on the experiences of the two groups will be identical, so that if there are any differences in time taken to accomplish the task, it can be assumed that this is due to the experimental treatment.

Both groups are exposed to an experimental stimulus—either autonomy or close control. Surveys and experiments are probably the main vehicles of quantitative research but three others are worthy of a brief mention. The analysis of previously collected data, like official statistics on crime, suicide, unemployment, health, and so on, can be subsumed within the tradition of quantitative research.

Keat and Urry, Secondly, structured observation, whereby the researcher records observations in accordance with a predetermined schedule and quantifies the resulting data, displays many of the characteristics of quantitative research. Finally, as Beardsworth has indicated, content analysis—the quantitative analysis of the communication content of media such as newspapers— shares many of the chief features of quantitative research.

Quantitative research is, then, a genre which uses a special language which appears to exhibit some similarity to the ways in which scientists talk about how they investigate the natural order—variables, control, measurement, experiment. This superficial imagery reflects the tendency for quantitative research to be under-pinned by a natural science model, which means that the logic and procedures of the natural sciences are taken to provide an epistemological yardstick against which empirical research in the social sciences must be appraised before it can be treated as valid knowledge.

The epistemology upon which quantitative research is erected comprises a litany of preconditions for what is warrantable knowledge, and the mere presence of numbers is unlikely to be sufficient.

Nor is it the emphasis on accumulating quantitative data by those working within the tradition that the critics of quantitative research find unacceptable. Indeed, many qualitative researchers—the main adversaries—recognize the potential benefits of some measurement e.

Silverman, , The foregoing discussion, of course, begs the question: why should students of society copy the approach of natural scientists whose subject matter appears so different?

In part, the enormous success of the sciences this century in facilitating our understanding of the natural order has probably played a part. So too has the view of writers subscribing to the doctrine of positivism about which more will be said below that the natural sciences provide a standard against which knowledge should be gauged and that there is no logical reason why its procedures should not be equally applicable to the study of society.

In addition, as social scientists have been looked to increasingly by governments and other agencies to provide policy-relevant research or alternatively have sought to present themselves in this light , they have either been compelled to adopt a supposedly scientific approach or have sought to display an aura of scientific method in order to secure funding.

The reasons are undoubtedly legion and since this is a somewhat speculative topic it is not proposed to dwell any further on it. Rather, it is more fruitful to examine the precise nature of the scientific method that forms the bedrock of quantitative research.

Walsh, Nowadays writers on positivism bemoan this exploitation of the term and seek to distance themselves from the tendency to treat it as a pejorative designation e.

Giddens, ; Cohen, ; Bryant, Thus in the eyes of many authors the term has become devalued as a description of a particular stance in relation to the pursuit of knowledge.

A further difficulty is that even among more sophisticated treatments of positivism a wide range of meanings is likely to be discerned. Different versions of positivism can be found; Halfpenny identifies twelve. Consequently, in the explication of positivism that follows can be found not a complete catalogue of the constituents which have been identified by various writers but an extraction of those which are most frequently cited.

Thus in following the widely held convention of regarding quantitative research as founded on positivism one is presumably subscribing to the view that the former reflects the aims and tenets of the latter. What then is positivism supposed to comprise? This view involves a conviction that the fact that the objects of the social sciences—people—think, have feelings, communicate through language and otherwise, attribute meaning to their environment, and superficially appear to be uniquely different from one another in terms of their beliefs and personal characteristics— qualities not normally held to describe the objects of the natural scientist—is not an obstacle to the implementation of the scientific method.

This position is often referred to as the principle of methodological monism or methodological naturalism von Wright, ; Giedymin, Positivism entails a belief that only those phenomena which are observable, in the sense of being amenable to the senses, can validly be warranted as knowledge. This means that phenomena which cannot be observed either directly through experience and observation or indirectly with the aid of instruments have no place.

This aspect of positivism is often referred to as the doctrine of phenomenalism and sometimes as empiricism, although some writers would probably challenge the treatment of these two terms as synonyms. These facts feed into the theoretical edifice pertaining to a particular domain of knowledge. Thus theory expresses and reflects the accumulated findings of empirical research.

This implies that science is deductive, in that it seeks to extract specific propositions from general accounts of reality. The logic involved might entail seeking to construct a scientific theory to explain the laws pertaining to a particular field; a hypothesis or possibly more than one is derived in order to enable the scientist to test the theory; if the hypothesis is rejected when submitted to rigorous empirical examination the theory must be revised.

This notion can be discerned in explications of positivism in two senses. The first is the more obvious sense of needing to purge the scientist of values which may impair his or her objectivity and so undermine the validity of knowledge. Clearly, within the domain of the social sciences, in which moral or political predispositions may exert a greater influence than in the natural sciences, this aspect of positivism has special relevance.

Positivism denies the appropriateness of the sphere of the normative to its purview because normative statements cannot be verified in relation to experience. While positivists recognize that they can investigate the implications of a particular normative position, they cannot verify or falsify the position itself.

In a sense, this standpoint is a special instance of the doctrine of phenomenalism, but it has been taken to have a particular relevance in the context of the social sciences Keat, , though it figures in more general treatments too Kolakowski, A number of liberties have been taken in this exposition: there is no single treatment of positivism which entails all of these principles and not all positivists living or dead would subscribe to all of them. Some points have been treated in a fairly cavalier manner in order to cut a swath through a very dense undergrowth of debate.

The first two ingredients probably come closest to what most people mean by positivism and are also the ones which recur most strikingly in the various expositions of it. There are a number of points about these tenets which are worth registering.

Principles 2 and 4 together imply a belief that there is a sharp difference between theory and observation. Such a view is suggested by T. A major implication of his account of the history of science is that, as one paradigm is supplanted by another, the image of the world held by ensuing scientists also changes, so that observations are interpreted within a different context. An example which gives a flavour of this line of reasoning can be cited: During the seventeenth century, when their research was guided by one or another effluvium theory, electricians repeatedly saw chaff particles rebound from, or fall off, the electrified bodies that had attracted them… Placed before the same apparatus, a modern observer would see electrostatic repulsion rather than mechanical or gravitational rebounding.

Kuhn, , p. This view suggests a circular process whereby hypotheses are deduced from general theories and submitted to empirical test; the subsequent results are then absorbed into the general theories. This portrayal often underlies the accounts by social scientists of the way in which scientists proceed see Wallace, , and below. Thirdly, the importance accorded the rule of phenomenalism implies that observations are the final arbiters of theoretical disputes, and therefore generates a view which substantially relegates theoretical reasoning to a relatively minor role Alexander, This tendency is further underlined by the doctrine of operationalism, which is generally associated with a positivist position and in particular can be viewed as a ramification of phenomenalism.

Simply stated, operationalism seeks to remove the ambiguity in the concepts that are typically embedded in scientific theories by specifying the operations by which they are to be measured.

Once concepts have been operationalized, we would conceive of them almost exclusively in terms of the procedures developed for their measurement.

Further, the doctrine of operationalism implies that concepts for which operational definitions cannot be devised should have little or no place in the subsequent development of scientific theories in a particular field of inquiry. It is precisely this celebration of the domain of empirically observable and verifiable phenomena that has caused positivism to be the butt of much criticism.

For example, such writers often draw attention to the frequent use by scientists of analogies and metaphors to facilitate their understanding of the causal mechanisms which underpin the phenomena being observed.

Such rhetorical devices run counter to the positivist account of the modus operandi of the scientist, since they are frequently not amenable to observation. It seems likely that positivism is an accurate description of some scientific fields at certain junctures; for instance, certain aspects of physics seem to conform to the tenets of positivism, and it is no coincidence that the doctrine of operationalism was largely formulated within the context of that discipline Bridgman, If it is the case that positivism does not adequately describe the nature of the natural sciences, two related questions present themselves in the light of the chapter thus far.

Why treat positivism as the central focus of a discussion of the nature of science, and why not give much more space to apparently more accurate accounts? In fact, although the positivist account has been questioned by some philosophers of science, it is misguided to believe that there is some absolutely definitive version of the nature of science. Philosophers of science disagree widely over what science comprises.

Even when they share apparently similar positions, they are not necessarily in accord over certain issues. Further, the chief reason for dealing with the nature of positivism is that quantitative research has been heavily influenced by an account of scientific method which has typically been construed in positivist terms. In other words, quantitative research is conventionally believed to be positivist in conception and orientation.

The authors of textbooks on social research methods give an account of the logic of quantitative research that bears a striking similarity to the positivist position e.

Goode and Hatt, ; Phillips, Further, the critics of quantitative research have invariably depicted it as inherently positivistic and have criticized its slavish endorsement of an approach which they deem inappropriate to the study of people e. Filmer et al. More recently, Guba , who writes from the viewpoint of qualitative research, has noted the arguments against viewing the sciences as positivistic. However, the key points to note are that: science has invariably been believed to operate according to the tenets of positivism; quantitative researchers have typically sought to conform to the methods and procedures of the natural sciences and consequently have been considerably influenced by positivism; the critics of quantitative research have viewed it as seeking to follow the precepts of the scientific method and thereby positivism.

The next step is to investigate more systematically the influence of positivism on quantitative research. Positivism and Quantitative Research Quantitative research is often conceptualized by its practitioners as having a logical structure in which theories determine the problems to which researchers address themselves in the form of hypotheses derived from general theories. These hypotheses are invariably assumed to take the form of expectations about likely causal connections between the concepts which are the constituent elements of the hypotheses.

Because concepts in the social sciences are frequently believed to be abstract, there is seen to be a need to provide operational definitions whereby their degrees of variation and co-variation may be measured.

Data are collected by a social survey, experiment, or possibly one of the other methods mentioned above. Once the survey or experimental data have been collected, they are then analysed so that the causal connection specified by the hypothesis can be verified or rejected. The resulting findings then feed back into, and are absorbed by, the theory that set the whole process going in the first place.

This account is, of course, a somewhat idealized account of the research process offered by many writers and is particularly prevalent in textbooks on social research methods. It conceives of quantitative research as a rational, linear process.

Figure 2. However, although this view of the research process is commonly encountered in accounts of the logic of quantitative research, it has a number of defects. First and foremost, it almost certainly overstates the centrality of theory in much quantitative research. Of course, one needs to draw a distinction between grand theories and theories of the middle range.

Since grand theories were so abstract they offered few clues as to how they might offer guides to empirical research; by contrast, much research in sociology seemed to offer little prospect of absorption into wider theoretical schemas. Thus one ends up with theories of juvenile delinquency, racial prejudice, bureaucracy in organizations, and so on.

If it were the case that theory had the kind of priority that is implied by Figure 2. In fact, it is difficult to sustain such a connection. For example, Platt has examined the often expressed assumption that there is an affinity between functionalism and the social survey, and has found the contention wanting. She finds that noted functionalists do not seem to have been especially predisposed to the survey technique and that, vice versa, survey researchers have not necessarily been strongly influenced by functionalism.

Platt draws these conclusions from an examination of the work of notable functionalists and survey researchers in American sociology, as well as from interviews with some particularly influential survey researchers.

This point is important, as the authors note once again at the end of the section that vegetarianism has received little attention from social scientists.

This section examines aspects of the literature on vegetar- ianism that has been carried outby social scientists or that has a social scientific angle. The review includes: opinion poll and survey data, which point to the likely percentage of vegetarians in the British population; debates about animal rights; sociological analysis of vegetarian ideas ; and one study Dwyer er al.

In the final paragraph of this section, the authors indicate the contribution of some of the literature they have covered. The design of the study The first sentence of this section forges a useful linkwith the preceding one: 'The themes outlined above appear to warrant further investigation, preferably in a manner which allows for a much more richly detailed exarnina- tion of motivations and experiences than is apparent in the study by Dwyer er This opening gambit allows the authors to suggest that the literature in this area is scant and that there are many unanswered questions.

Also, they distance them- selves from the one sociological study of vegetarians, which in tum leads them to set up the grounds for prefer- ring qualitative research. The authors then outline; who was to be studied and why; how respondents were recruited see Research in focus The findings of the study The chief findings are outlined under separate headings: respondents' characteristics; types of vegetarianism; the process of conversion; motivations; nutritional beliefs ; social relations; and dilemmas.

The presentation of the results is carried out so that there is some discussion of their meaning or significance in such a way as to lead onto the next section, which provides exclusively a discussion.

Social research methods

For example, in the final sentence in the section ' reporting findings relating to nutritional beliefs , the authors write: Just as meat tended to imply strongly negative connotations for respondents. Beardsworth and Kei Explaining contemporary vegetarianism This section discusses the findings in the light of the study's research questions in connection with food selec- tion and avoidance. The results are also related to many of the ideas encountered in the two sections dealing with the literature.

The authors develop an idea emerging from their research, which they call 'food ambivalence'. This concept encapsulates for the authors the anxieties and paradoxes concerning food that can be discerned in the interview transcripts for example, food can be con- strued both as necessary for strength and energy and simultaneously as a source of illness. Vegetarianism is in many respects a response to the dilemmas associated with food ambivalence.

In ,this section, the authors return to many of the ideas and themes that have driven their research. TheyspellOUt the significance of the idea of food ambiValence,which is probably the article's main conrribution to researchinthis area. The final paragraph outJines the importance of fOOd ambivalence for vegetarians, but the authors are careful not to imply that it is the sole reason for the adoptionof vegetarianism.

In the final sentence they write: 'HOwever for a significant segment of the population [vegetarian: ism] appears to represent a viable device for re-establishing some degree of peace of mind when contemplating some of the darker implications of the carefully arranged message on the dinner plate' Beardswonh and Keil This sentence neatly encapsulates one of the article's master themes-the idea of vegetarianism as a response to food ambivalence-and alludes through the reference to 'the carefully arranged message' to semiotic analyses of meat and food.

Just like the illustration of quantitative research writ- ing, there are strong opening sentences, which attract our attention and give a clear indication of the nature and content of the article. The rationale of the research is clear! Toa large extent, this revolves around identifying the soci- ological study of food and eating as a growing area of research but noting the paucity of investigations of vegetarianism.

Research questions are specified but they ate some- what more open-ended than in KeUey and DeGraaf's article, which is in keeping with the general orienta- tion of qualitative researchers. The research questions revolve around the issue of vegetarianism as a dletary choice and the motivations for that choice.

The research design and methods are outlined and an indication is given of the approach to analysis. The sec- tion in which these issues are discussed demonstrates greater transparency than is sometimes the case with articles reporting qualitative research. The presentation and discussion of the findings in sections 5 and 6 are geared to the broad research questions that motivated the researchers' interest in vegetarianism.

However, section 6 also represents the major opportunity for the idea of food ambivalence and its dimensions to be articulated. The inductive nature of qualitative research means that the concepts and theories that are generated from an investigation must be clearly identified and discussed, as in this case.

The conclusion elucidates in a more specific way the significance of the results for the research questions. It alsoexplores the implications of food ambivalence for vegetarians, so that' one of the"article's major theoret- ical contributions is clearly identified and emphasized.

Writing up mixedmethods research partly because interest in and the practice of mixed rnethodsresearch has gained momentumonly in relatively recent times, it has few if any writing conventions. More particularly, it is difficult to say what an exemplary or model mixed methods research journal article might looklike.

Iink, or connect these "strands" in some way' Creswell and Tashakkori They actually add a third feature of good mixed methods articles-namely, that they contribute to the literature on mixed methods research in some way. This seems a rather tali order for many writers and researchers, so that I Wouldtend to emphasize the other two features.

The first implies that the quantitative and the qualita- tive components of a mixed methods article should be at the very least competently executed. This means that interms of the fundamental criteria for conducting good quantitative and good qualitative research, mixed meth- ods research should conform to both quantitative and qualitative research criteria.


In terms of writing, it means that, for each of the components, it should be clear what the research questions were, how the sampling was done, Writing up social research what the data collection technique s was or were, and qow the data were analysed. The second feature implies that a good mixed methods article will be more than the sum of its parts.

This issue relates to a tendency that has been identified by some writers e.Vegetarianism is in many respects a response to the dilemmas associated with food ambivalence. It was the first phase of research on developing telerehabilitation for the assessment of patients who have had a stroke. In the fourth edition of this lively and engaging textbook, Alan Bryman presents students with an updated and all-encompassing guide to the principle techniques and methodology in the field of Social Research.

Introduction The first four sentences give us an immediate sense of what the article is about and where its focus lies; The purpose of this paper is to offer a contribution to the analysis of the cultural and sociological factors which influence patterns of food selection and food avoidance.

However, section 6 also represents the major opportunity for the idea of food ambivalence and its dimensions to be articulated. For example, such writers often draw attention to the frequent use by scientists of analogies and metaphors to facilitate their understanding of the causal mechanisms which underpin the phenomena being observed.

Journals devoted to publishing articles based on qualitative research began to appear and in the Administrative Science Quarterly—a bastion of quantitative research— published a special number devoted to qualitative research.

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