9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN20 Qualitative Methods

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 The Quality of Qualitative Research Building II, B2.01

Quality criteria for mixed methods sociological inquiry across designs

Mixed methods (MM) research has been accepted by many sociologists as a valuable research option. One of the main reasons of this trend has been discussed in relation to improving various forms of quality criteria via MM design. By the past decade, there have been initial steps in empirically identifying broad criteria for quality assessment in MM research. A common denominator of these studies is that they all advocate for further research to be carried out on the issue of quality criteria, across disciplines and across designs. Departing from a contingency position that prioritizes the centrality of the research question rather than the epistemological and ontological debates, this ongoing doctoral study intends to fill this gap by elaborating a design-based typology to assess the quality of MM research, including research question, sampling, data collection, analysis, and interpretation. The typology is derived from researchers? consensus and empirical testing. Following Sale and Brazil?s (2004) recommendations that the revision of quality criteria should involve consultation with critical appraisal experts, and that those criteria be applied to a sample of mixed-methods studies, the inquiry adopts a 2-phase sequential design. In the first, qualitative, phase the Delphi technique is used to develop a ranked list of ?best? criteria to assess the quality reported in MM sociological inquiries. Criteria from phase one is tested during the second, quantitative, phase of the study onto a corpus of published, and unpublished (grey literature), MM studies in a systematic review. Systematic review involves comprehensively searching and identifying MM studies in sociology, and testing the applicability and thoroughness of the Delphi criteria. If appropriate, a meta-analysis appraises the quality effect of MM studies onto which the criteria are applied. The findings are oriented to the provision of helpful insights for MM researchers to assess rigour and overall quality of MM sociological inquiries.