Application of Mixed Research Paradigm in the Social Sciences: An orientation
Scholarly interest has increased in mixed methods research (MMR) which has been christened the third methodological movement. The field of MMR has evolved its own methodological, theoretical, philosophical, analytical and practical basics and constructs for conducting studies. Conducting research and gathering data in the behavioural sciences where phenomena of investigation are mainly linked to human activities require that the methodological approach be exhaustive and rich enough to enable valid generalisations. It is in this wise that this paper examines the relevance, applicability and process of mixing methods and its usefulness in social research. It seeks to familiarise social scientists with the rudiments of mixing both qualitative and quantitative data in a single study, the rationale for mixing, the designs, as well as the steps involved. It also examines the two paradigms in a comparative overview in order to substantiate the case for mixed methods in social research. The paper concludes that mixed methods research is desirable for superior evidence and valid generalisations. Thus, to add strength to strength and enrich data gathering in social investigation, more use of the mixed methods research is advocated. The descriptive approach was utilised for the study in a methodical and chronological manner that ensured adequate understanding of the subject of interest.
Keywords: Quantitative research, qualitative research, mixed methods research, third methodological movement, constructivism, postpositivism, pragmatism.