How I’ve used mixed methods (or not) over 20 years of doing migration research

As part of preparations for two podcast episodes and a keynote lecture on mixed methods, I looked back at how I have actually mixed methods (or not) in my own research. Here is an overview of sixteen examples (download below). I’ve specified the qualitative and quantitative component of each and commented on why or how they were combined in this way. I keep it simple and used the labels ‘qualitative’ and ‘quantitative’, but refer to Mario Luis Small’s (2011) review of mixed-methods research for more nuanced distinctions.

These are my take-aways from creating the overview.

  • Mixing is often uneven, and that’s fine. The publications range from only qualitative to only quantitative, with differently balanced mixing in between. Relatively few combine quantitative and qualitative methods in roughly equal measure.
  • Experience with both qualitative and quantitative methods has been valuable even for single-method publications, for instance for introducing contextualizing information or critical perspectives.
  • Mixed-methods projects don’t necessarily produce mixed-methods publications. Sometimes that’s by design, but it can also be a missed opportunity.
  • If a paper mainly aims to make a theoretical contribution, including both qualitative and quantitative analysis is often not sensible, especially within the scope of a standard-length journal article. But for understanding and documenting empirical mechanisms, full-fledged mixing can be great.

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