Session 35

Mixed Methods

Mixed methods research combines at least one qualitative and one quantitative research component within a single study or a series of studies. In the last decades, publications on mixed methods research have strongly increased in number internationally. However, the methodological debates are still dominated by Anglo-Saxon scholars from specific subfields of social sciences such as education, health, nursing, and evaluation research. As a result, on one hand mixed methods research has been established as a research approach with its own terminology and research tradition. Nevertheless, on the other hand we find that methodological debates from other countries and other disciplines proceed independently and need to be integrated. E.g., the issue of the epistemological foundations of mixed methods research can be characterized by oversimplifications and false assumptions and thus, is still at its beginning. But also integrating different research strands poses practical challenges.

This is why this session aims at broadening the debate on mixed methods, especially by scholars from other countries and disciplines. We are especially (but not exclusively) interested in contributions from the Global South and spatial research. Papers should either provide new perspectives on the methodological debate or address how mixed methods research is conducted or taught in their research contexts. We are looking forward to gain new insights and experiences on debating and conducting mixed methods research.



1.Mixed Methods in Spatial Research

Cornelia Thierbach  (Germany)

Spatial Research is undertaken by disciplines such as geography, architecture, planning, and sociology. Each discipline has their own stocks of knowledge, research perspectives and research methods. Methodological debates on how to combine and mix spatial methods are still at their beginnings. However, it becomes clear that researching space interdisciplinary and mixing these methods appear to be quite promising to tackle and understand complex spatial phenomena. Alongside not only the combination on how to combine or mix qualitative and quantitative methods are worth debating, but also and maybe more pressing than in other research areas, the question on how to combine verbal and visual data.


2.Insights on combining quantitative and qualitative methods in the study of the adoption of technology in an African University

Esther Nkhukhu-Orlando  (University of Botswana, Botswana)

The paper acknowledges the increased use of Mixed Methods Research (MMR) design/strategies in social science research where developments show the necessity to use MMR and integrate data from studies using different methods of inquiry. Despite the growing trend of adopting both qualitative and quantitative methodologically strategies in the global north, there is dearth of literature on the experiences of the global south, where researchers have limited resources and there is still considerable uncertainty concerning what it means to integrate findings in mixed methods research. Relying on a case study in Botswana, this paper shares the unique experiences of adopting a mixed methods approach in studying the adoption of e-learning at the University of Botswana. It highlights the practical benefits and challenges associated with mixed methods research and make contributions to the area of technology adoption where most studies are conducted in developed countries. The paper also makes recommendations that may be considered when conducting mixed methods study in the context of the global South by highlighting several factors that impede the ability of mixed methods researchers to bring together the quantitative and qualitative results of their projects. It argues that the adoption of mixed methods should be carefully thought of in advance to achieve quality results in research. The paper provides possible implications that future mixed method researchers might like to consider regarding extracting greater value from their projects.


3.Application of mixed methods research to the study of sustainable urban futures: a retrospective approach to Metropolitan Municipal and District Medium Term Planning in Ghana

Fauster Agbenyo  (University for Development Studies, Ghana)

Ibrahim Yakubu  (University for Development Studies, Ghana)

Urban futures relate to the socio-spatial development of urban space as it hinges on sustainable urban growth and development. Sustainable urban futures, in this paper, is conceived of as addressing the urban development challenges of the current generation without compromising the abilities of future generations to use urban development propellers to address their urban development challenges. A perusal of the urban growth and development literature reveals burgeoning lacunae as to the merger of static and dynamic models in mixed methods contexts for urban planning research, particularly in connection with Metropolitan, Municipal and District Medium Term (MMDMT) planning in Ghana. This paper, therefore, seeks to identify these lacunae and proceeds to demonstrate how mixed methods can be employed to integrate static and dynamic models to deal with human-centred variables within MMDMT planning in Ghana. To achieve this, we used socio-spatial models which accommodate time, space and human-centred characteristics as variables of interest. We recommend the adoption, or at least the adaptation, of these amalgamated models to research sustainable urban futures in Ghana.


4.Reading of a place through a multi-method approach: case study of a territory in the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon

Madalena Corte-Real  (Dinâmia’CET, ISCTE-IUL; Cics.Nova, Portugal)

Marianna Monte  (Dinâmia’CET, ISCTE-IUL; Cics.Nova, Portugal)

Maria João Gomes  (Cics.Nova, Portugal)

Luís Manata  (Cics.Nova, Portugal)

This chapter is based on an analysis commissioned by the municipality of Almada, located in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area, on internal and external perceptions of the older part of the city in view of spatial requalification and tourism development strategies. The area under analysis is located on the Tagus River on the bank opposite Lisbon’s old city centre easily accessible in a short trip by ferry. Almada is a former industrial area, has a strong relationship with the river and the sea area and is marked by a rather disorganised suburbanisation process due to the lack of urban planning. It has a multimodal centre, administrative services of local government, cultural facilities and it is known for its seafood gastronomy. Also, an emblematic sanctuary can be visited in the area nearby that attracts many visitors. After losing some of its vitality over new areas of the municipality, in more recent years it has been attracting new residents as well as a growing number of different outlets, hostels and new offers in terms restaurants. In this sense, the research aimed to understand, on one hand, how the territory is experienced as a touristic attraction by its visitors and, on the other, the locals’ concerns and expectations. For the reading of the territory a multi-method approach of the territory was carried that combines social media and press analyses, observation, focus groups, in-depth interviews, and surveys. The results obtained reveal the narratives about the territory from different perspectives: people who use this area on a regular basis namely residents, visitors, representatives from the municipality, from commerce and the hospitality sector, with distinctive elements associated with the landscape, history, memories, culture and urban form.