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The Death of Mixed Methods: Research Labels and their Casualties

Mixed methods’ is a term increasingly used in social science to describe “the class of research where the researcher mixes or combines quantitative and qualitative research techniques, methods, approaches, concepts or language into a single study” (Jonson and Onwuegbuzie 2004:17). At time of writing, mixed methods is evolving into a dominant design structure for educational research. However, our closer inspection here suggests that the concept of mixed methods has logical underpinnings rooted more in philosophy than in empirical reality. This bodes ill for current and new research projects whose design is corralled into one of the (now) three research paradigms – quantitative involving only numbers, qualitative involving anything else, and mixed methods involving both numbers and anything else - without consideration of why and how the fences between them are there, and of what benefit there may be in breaching these restrictions...

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