Mixed methods research has been gaining popularity among researchers in social and behavioral sciences around the globe these years as it is “increasingly articulated, attached to research practice, and recognized as the third major research approach” (Johnson, Onwuegbuzie, & Turner, 2007, p. 112). The popularity has resulted partly from the fact that several noticeable changes have taken place in the methodology of social and behavioral research during researchers’ search for a third, new paradigm (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 2003).
Many publications, including Journal of Mixed Methods Research, have appeared with a focus on mixed methods research, and several conferences and workshops take place every year around the world, wherein several proponents have thus defined mixed methods differently. “Many definitions for mixed methods have emerged over the years” (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011, p. 2). This is how Creswell defined mixed methods research in his work Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches:
“Mixed methods research is an approach to inquiry involving collecting both quantitative and qualitative data, integrating the two forms of data, and using distinct designs that may involve philosophical assumptions and theoretical frameworks. The core assumption of this form of inquiry is that the combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches provides a more complete understanding of a research problem than either approach alone” (Creswell, 2014, p. 4).
Mixed methods research is an “intuitive way of doing research, and people have been constantly using it in their daily lives (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011, p. 1). Collecting only two distinct “strands” of research – qualitative and quantitative- is not mixed methods. These two “strands” are to be merged, integrated, linked or embedded (Creswell, 2005).