The use of mixed methods is currently increasing in social science research since it emphasizes methodological pluralism, and provides a broader and more credible understanding of the research problem than the use of a single method (Tashakkori and Teddlie 2010). However, mixing methods for no good reason other than the sake of it can produce disjointed and unfocussed research, and can severely test the capabilities of researchers. I raise some cautionary issues in this paper by critiquing the methodology in the journal article titled “Researching men: the politics and possibilities of a qualitative mixed-methods approach” published by Meth and McClymont (2011).
Meth and McClymont (2011) explores the possibility and politics of using qualitative mixed methods approach in researching men. The methods employed in the study include focus group discussion, one-on-one interview, archival method (diary), visual methods, and evaluation interview. I deduced these methods from the data sources highlighted in the article (page 911) since the authors failed to explicitly highlight the various methods that make up their mixed methods. More importantly, I discuss a number of problems associated with their methodological choices.
First, the authors were not clear in revealing the purpose and focus of the paper. Researchers engaging in mixed methods research need to have a clear sense of the logic and purpose of their approach. A clear focus ultimately underpins a practical strategy not only for choosing and deploying a particular mix of methods, but also for linking their data analytically (Mason, 2006). Were the authors interested in revealing the possibility of researching men using mixed methods (page 910)? Or were they actually developing a mixed method framework for researching men (page 910)? Or were they exploring the various ways in which men are subjected to violence (page 911)? Inexplicit research focus complicates methodological issues since ‘mixed methods’...
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