What is Mixed Methods Research?
Multimethodology or multimethod research includes the use of more than one method of data collection or research in a research study or set of related studies and mixed methods research is more specific in that it includes the mixing of qualitative and quantitative data, methods, methodologies, and/or paradigms in a research study or set of related studies. One could argue that mixed methods research is a special case of multimethod research. Another applicable, but less often used label, for multi or mixed research is methodological pluralism. All of these approaches to professional and academic research emphasize that monomethod research can be improved through the use of multiple data, methods, methodologies, perspectives, standpoints, and paradigms. The term ‘multimethodology’ was used starting in the 1980s and in the 1989 book Multimethod Research: A Synthesis of Styles by John Brewer and Albert Hunter (Sage Publications). During the 1990s and currently, the term ‘mixed methods research’ has become more popular for this research movement in the behavioral, social, business, and health sciences. This pluralistic research approach has been gaining in popularity since the 1980s.
How can Mixed Methods Research be used in UX?
Mixed methods research can be used in the field of user experience (UX) to gather a more comprehensive understanding of user behavior and attitudes.
Here are some ways in which mixed methods research can be used in UX:
- Triangulation: Mixed methods research can be used to triangulate data, meaning that multiple data sources are used to confirm or validate findings. This can help to increase the reliability and validity of the research.
- Complementary insights: Qualitative and quantitative methods often provide complementary insights, and using both can help to build a complete understanding of user behavior and attitudes.
- Generalizability: Quantitative methods can help to establish generalizable findings, while qualitative methods can provide rich, detailed accounts of specific cases or phenomena. Combining the two can help to create a more well-rounded understanding of user behavior.
- Exploring complex phenomena: Mixed methods research can be particularly useful for exploring complex phenomena, such as how users interact with a product or service in a specific cultural context.
Tips for Conducting Mixed Methods UX Research
Here are some tips for conducting mixed methods UX research:
- Define your research questions: Clearly define your research questions and objectives, and consider how mixed methods research can help to address them. This will help to guide your research design and ensure that you are using the most appropriate methods.
- Plan your research design: Carefully plan your research design, including deciding on the appropriate methods and data sources. Consider how the findings from the different methods will be integrated and analyzed.
- Consider the relative strengths and limitations of different methods: Each research method has strengths and limitations. It is important to consider these when deciding which methods to use. For example, quantitative methods are generally better at establishing generalizable findings, while qualitative methods can provide rich, detailed accounts of specific cases or phenomena.
- Use a phased approach: Mixed methods research can be conducted in a phased approach, with one method being used to answer specific research questions, followed by another method to explore further or confirm findings.
- Use appropriate sampling and sampling techniques: It is important to use appropriate sampling and sampling techniques to ensure that the research is representative and the findings are valid.
- Consider ethical considerations: As with any research, it is important to consider ethical considerations such as obtaining informed consent from participants and protecting their privacy.