The term "mixed methods" usually indicates a mixture of qualitative and quantitative sampling procedures, data collections, or data analyses within a single study or longitudinal program of inquiry. One of the most important prospects of mixed and multi-method research (MMMR) is its ability to overcome the limitations of traditional mono-method approaches. Method combinations may be used to corroborate or generalize findings, or they may serve to present a more nuanced and multi-facetted view of a given phenomenon. Moreover, MMMR approaches may even raise awareness for possible shortcomings which would otherwise go unrecognized by proponents of mono-method traditions.
Yet at the same time MMMR itself is often confronted with certain limitations ranging from incomplete methodical knowledge, conflicts between methodological camps and rigid disciplinary boundaries to limited material resources and time constraints. One of the most important problems of mixed methods research is how to combine qualitative and quantitative data analysis in generating “meta-inferences”. In practical research applications specific difficulties arise which are not covered by existing methods literature: How do we deal with convergent, complementary, and divergent findings? What implications do combined analyses have for fieldwork processes, data organization, and data documentation? How can we use joined displays during the research process to facilitate comparison between results of qualitative and quantitative analyses and how can we use them to communicate the joined results?
This session invites papers discussing the possibilities of MMMR for overcoming the limits of mono-method research as well as current problems and limitations within the diverse and evolving field of method integration. It will provide a forum for discussing problems of joined data analyses which were faced during specific research projects and the solutions found for them. Especially, it will focus on strategies that intend to relate qualitative and quantitative results explicitly instead of reporting two different studies that are only loosely linked to each other. Papers should either present a specific methodical issue with regard to concrete empirical MMMR projects, or discuss a methodological problem specifically pertaining to the prospects and limits of method integration.