The Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods provides perspectives on topics relevant to research in the field of business and management
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Journal Article

The Application of Mixed Methods in Organisational Research: A Literature Review  pp95-105

Jose Molina Azorin, Roslyn Cameron

© Dec 2010 Volume 8 Issue 2, ECRM Special Issue Part 1, Editor: Ann Brown, David Douglas, Marian Carcary and Jose Esteves, pp63 - 162

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Abstract

Mixed methods research (the combined use of quantitative and qualitative methods in the same study) is becoming an increasingly popular approach in the discipline fields of sociology, psychology, education and health sciences. Calls for the integration of quantitative and qualitative research methods have been advanced in these fields. A key feature of mixed methods research is its methodological pluralism, which frequently results in research which provides broader perspectives than those offered by monomethod designs. The overall purpose and central premise of mixed methods is that the use of quantitative and qualitative approaches in combination provides a better understanding of research problems and complex phenomena than either approach alone. Despite calls for the combined use of quantitative and qualitative research in business and management studies, the use of mixed methods in business and management has seldom been studied. The purpose of this paper is to review the application of mixed methods research within organisational research. The study reported in this paper identifies the use of mixed methods in three organisational journals for the period 2003 to 2009: the Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Organizational Behavior and Organizational Research Methods. The landmark Tashakkori and Teddlie (2003) Handbook of mixed methods in social and behavioral research, played a pivotal role in providing both the visibility and credibility of mixed methods as a third methodological movement and since the publication of this seminal work the mixed methods movement has rapidly gained popularity. Business and management researchers need to be made aware of the growing use and acceptance of mixed methods research across business and organisational journals. This paper examines the main characteristics of mixed methods studies identified in the sample in terms of purposes and designs, and posits suggestions on the application of mixed methodologies.

 

Keywords: mixed methods research, strategic management, organizational behaviour, quantitative methods, qualitative methods

 

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Journal Article

Experiences from Sequential Use of Mixed Methods  pp87-95

Stefan Cronholm

© Sep 2011 Volume 9 Issue 2, ECRM 2011 Special issue, Editor: Ann Brown, pp87 - 197

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Abstract

The discussion of qualitative or quantitative approaches has been going on for many years. One way to reduce the most dogmatic standings is to use mixed methods consisting of combinations of qualitative and quantitative approaches. In this paper, we have analysed usage experiences from combining qualitative and quantitative approaches in different ways. We refer to these combinations as method configurations. Our findings point out that a researcher should commence with a qualitative approach when: 1) the researcher has a lower pre‑knowledge of phenomenon to be studied, 2) the phenomenon to be studied is abstract and 3) there is an uncertainty if the questions asked are the right questions. On the contrary, there is a tendency in our results that the researcher should start with a quantitative study when 1) the researcher has a good pre‑knowledge of the phenomenon or 2) the phenomenon is more concrete.

 

Keywords: mixed methods, method combinations, mixed approaches, qualitative methods, quantitative methods

 

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Journal Article

Mixed Methods Research: Insights from Requirements Engineering  pp125-134

Rozilawati Razali et al

© Nov 2016 Volume 14 Issue 2, Editor: Ann Brown, pp71 - 167

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Abstract

Requirements engineering (RE) combines technical and human aspects in software development. It covers the process of eliciting, analysing, specifying, validating and managing the requirements of software systems. RE needs to understand the people and the context within which specific actions and decisions take place. Hence, RE research opts for qualitative research. Quantitative approach is equally important in RE research nevertheless, as some studies may need to measure certain variables and confirming existing theories. Therefore, the adoption of mixed methods is viewed as an appealing alternative to fulfil the diverse needs of RE studies. The method offers the strengths of both qualitative and quantitative approaches to understand and overcome complex RE issues. This paper highlights some insights of adopting mixed methods in RE research. The discussion is based on experience of having two qualitative and one quantitative studies and integrating two mixed methods research designs. The insights generate several tentative facts about employing mixed methods in RE research, which covering the aspects of writing and publishing, research intention and motivation as well as understanding of accompanying methods.

 

Keywords: Requirements engineering, mixed methods research, qualitative and quantitative methods

 

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Journal Article

A Researcher's Dilemma ‑ Philosophical and Methodological Pluralism  pp145-154

Karl Knox

© Jul 2003 Volume 2 Issue 2, Editor: Arthur Money, pp47 - 170

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Abstract

In many research textbooks the distinction between qualitative and quantitative research is inadvertently linked with philosophical perspectives. This in essence creates a mutually exclusive relationship between method and philosophy. Initially researchers are led to believe, from these textbooks, that research is neatly divided into mutually exclusive categories, these being quantitative and qualitative research and 'never the twain shall meet'. This divide is further strengthened with the inference that the relationship extends further; associating deduction with quantitative methods and similarly induction with qualitative methods. "What happens in most texts is that qualitative research methods and quantitative research methods are set against each other as polar opposites. (Crotty 1998, p19)". This paper argues that methodological pluralism is acceptable but what is not acceptable is philosophical pluralism. By naively linking methods and approaches to specific philosophy researchers and students may miss out on potentially innovative or creative data collection methods. Alternatively and more importantly by feeling tied or constrained by their philosophical stance to particular methods and approaches, associated with them by textbooks, they may in fact reduce the credibility, validity, and or significance of the research. There maybe an elective affinity between certain philosophies and methods but this should not necessarily constrain the methods chosen.

 

Keywords: Methodology, Philosophy, Pluralism, Qualitative and Quantitative Methods

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 8 Issue 2, ECRM Special Issue Part 1 / Dec 2010  pp63‑162

Editor: Ann Brown, David Douglas, Marian Carcary, Jose Esteves

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Editorial

Introduction to the ECRM conference issues

The subject of research methods in business is showing an extraordinary level of activity and innovation and this conference (the 9th European Conference on Research Methods in Business and Management) reflected this. Papers ranged from those offering insight and help in applying such favorite methods as Grounded Theory (Douglas and Nunes et al) to those introducing new ideas such as the application of subtextual phenomenology (Valleck). Papers fell naturally into fourteen main themes and these formed the basis of the conference streams. The quality of the papers was of such a high level that it was decided to publish two conference issues, A & B.  Issue A has the best papers on: Grounded Theory, Mixed Methods, Reflecting and Researching one’s own professional practice, Research Methods in Business and Research Methods in Strategy‑as‑practice. Issue B has the best papers on: Qualitative Data Analysis, Research Methodology and methodology issues, Teaching Research Methods and Methodologies and Trust and Ethics

The final selection of papers was agreed by the senior editor of the Journal and the guest editors. The comments of session chairs were taken into account in making the final selection of papers for these two issues of the EJBRM. The papers selected were chosen for their quality of writing, their relevance to the Journal’s objective of publishing papers that offer new insights or practical help in the application of research methods in business research.

Issue A

These papers dealt with the problems facing management researchers in a variety of ways. Two papers develop new ideas (Valleck, Venkateswaran and Prabhu). Vallek’s paper introduces a relatively new method for researching in that it advocates the use of personal experience through the application of subtextual phenomenology (Valleck). The paper by Venkateswaran and Prabhu claim that their topic ‑ strategy‑as‑Practice is just emerging as a new subject. This is the study of individual and organizational actions in the process of strategizing. The paper gives an insightful view of the problems of taking a holistic view of such actions. The two papers on Grounded Theory could not have been more different in their aims, one (Douglas) shows us how the method can be used to identify the differing perspectives of stakeholders, while the second (Nunes et al) offers a valuable insight into managing the key initial stage of the method through the use of pilot studies. The papers on mixed methods (Papadimitriou, Molina‑Azorin and Cameron) both offer insight into how and when to use this method. Papadimitriou is a helpful paper to others in understanding the MMs approach to research. Whereas Molina‑Azorin and Cameron carry out a survey of the way Mixed methods has been applied in a number of key organizational research journals. The remaining three papers offer valuable insights into key steps of the research process: O'hEocha et al give a review of the use of focus groups from the literature which offers us insight into the value and appropriateness of using this technique. Heine uses an example of analyzing the behavior of a niche group to discuss the twin problems of surveys – that of reaching the target group and then motivating them to respond.  Beck et al address the practical problems of making use of data (on major change projects) over which the researcher has little control as to choice or the conditions within which the collection takes place.

 

Keywords: grounded theory, small business, entrepreneurship, pilot studies, context, research design, multilevel mixed design, quality management, higher education, neo-institutional theory, mixed methods research, strategic management, organizational behaviour, quantitative methods, qualitative methods, subtextual phenomenology; phenomenology; arts-based research; first-person research, transcendental phenomenology, intuitive research, focus group, information systems development, evaluation criteria, luxury products, luxury brands, luxury consumers, survey participant acquisition, survey response, viral marketing, field research, external validity, induction, statistical generalization, theoretical generalization, strategy-as-practice, research methods, strategy research, clinical research, review

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 9 Issue 2, ECRM 2011 Special issue / Sep 2011  pp87‑197

Editor: Ann Brown

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Editorial

The subject of research methods in business is showing an extra‑ordinary level of activity and innovation and this conference (the 10th European Conference on Research Methods in Business and Management) reflected this. These papers dealt with the problems facing management researchers in a variety of ways. Many Papers offer help in applying new methods such as Mixed Methods and Design Science and introduce new ideas such the use of visual imagery as stimuli in research interviews. The final selection of papers was agreed by the senior editor of the Journal and the guest editors. The comments of session chairs were taken into account in making the final selection of papers for this issue of the EJBRM. The papers selected were chosen for their quality of writing, their relevance to the Journal’s objective of publishing papers that offer new insights or practical help in the application of research methods in business research and the degree of innovation in the subject matter.

The chosen Papers

Two papers constitute a useful introduction to mixed methods – one used case examples to illustrate the potential value of the method (Stefan Cronholm and Anders Hjalmarsson) and one assessed the challenges facing the researcher who opts for this approach.(Roslyn Cameron)

Design Science seems to be acquiring more supporters – particularly for research into Information technology. One paper explains the technique illustrating with a detailed description of an ongoing study (Carcary). The paper by Venables suggests that few research methods courses currently include this method.

The conference received a surprisingly large number of papers on the teaching of research methods and on Project Management. This issue includes three papers on teaching research methods. One addressed the issue of the expanding range of research methods available to business researchers and proposed a framework that would help teachers to introduce the full set of options (Venables). A growing trend is that of doctoral candidates coming forward from industry and the professions. Two papers offer some extremely valuable ideas on how supervisors can support the special needs of this group of doctoral candidates – One paper argues for choosing research methods that specifically exploits this experience for the empirical research work (Caroline Cole, Steven Chase, Oliver Couch and Murray Clark). The other paper offers a framework that could help such students to work through the bewildering first few steps in the research journey that often proves too confusing and time consuming for mature candidates (Rahinah Ibrahim). The papers on Project Management while of great interest to managers tended to focus on Project Management issues rather than research methods. However one paper identified the lack of research support for the existing sets of Project Management standards produced by the professional societies (BoK) and discussed the implications.(Miles Shepherd and Roger Atkinson)

An interesting paper presents a visual technique, infographics to aid interviewers in the elicitation of relevant experiences from interview subjects (Robert Campbell, Gillian Green and Mark Grimshaw ). Pearse contributed an unusual paper on the Likert scale. This is widely used but at low levels of granularity (no of scales) and this paper presents research suggesting that we should consider using a much wider range of scales.

The PhD paper that won the award for best PhD paper was by Nicola Swan. This dealt with the problems faced by researchers collecting data in the emerging countries where facilities and attitudes differ markedly from the developed countries.

I would like to thank the help given in the reviewing of the papers from the conference from Marian Carcary, Marie Ashwin, Martin Rich, Roslyn Cameron, Gill Green, Gary Bell and John Warwick.

Ann Brown

September 2011.

 

Keywords: body of knowledge; business research; case study; certification; critical reflexivity; critical discourse analysis; critical research; curriculum design; design science research; dissertation; eagle table; graduate study; graphic elicitation; hermeneutics; inductive profession; inter-disciplinary; IS; IT CMF; knowledge representation; likert scale; maturity models; method combinations; mixed approaches; mixed methods; paradigms; pragmatism; publishing; qualitative methods; qualitative research; quantitative methods; questionnaire design; research design; research framework; research into professional practice; research methodology; research methods; research proposal design; scale construction; scale granularity infographics; teaching design science; teaching research methods

 

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