Mixed Methods Research Design

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Abstract

The following mixed method design description features proposed research on transformational leadership behaviors and their impact on employee organizational commitment in member institutions of the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC). After a review of transformational leadership theory and previous research concerning the topic, the author describes the various factors involved in the study, including the hypothesis, participants, and procedure. It is the author’s hope that this proposed study, if carried through to completion, will contribute to existing transformational leadership theory with a generalizable context.


Mixed Method Research
Mixed method research designs are composed of a marriage between quantitative and qualitative research, meaning that mixed designs have greater complexity than either method alone. Often, mixed method research revolves around multiple research problems instead of only one (Ormrod & Leedy, 2013). A crucial first step in this research is to establish the research goal. Newman, Ridenour, Newman, and DeMarco (2003) indicate that a research goal should involve determining the overall, long-term aim of the study. After goal setting takes place, the next step is to determine the research objective. Onwuegbuzie and Leech (2006) identify five major research objectives for mixed methods research—exploration, description, explanation, prediction, and influence. Once the rationale has been determined, Onwuegbuzie and Leech (2006) cite Greene, Caracelli, and Graham (1989) in their presentation of five general purposes for selecting mixed methods for research—triangulation, complementarity, initiation, development, and expansion.

Although there are six mixed method designs from which a researcher can choose, the author elects to use the sequential explanatory strategy for her work. Creswell (2003) posits that sequential explanatory research is characterized by collection and analysis of quantitative data, followed by collection and analysis of qualitative data. This design enables a researcher to utilize qualitative data to assist in explaining and interpreting the findings of a quantitative study. In addition, the straightforward nature of its design and ease of implementation due to stages of research are considered to be strengths (Creswell, 2003). Proposed Research Topic

After reflection of her career experience in higher education administration, the author elects to conduct mixed method research regarding transformational leadership within independent colleges and universities. As a means of studying transformational leadership behaviors, the author proposes to collect data from Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) member schools in various regions of the United States. According to the organizational website, CIC is a “major national service organization for all small and mid-sized, independent, liberal arts colleges and universities in the U.S.” (About CIC, n.d.). The organization exists to provide services to campus leaders through continuing educational opportunities, including seminars, workshops, and programs aimed at assisting institutional leaders as they improve educational offerings, administrative and financial performance, and institutional visibility. Founded in 1956, the organization consists of 620 member schools across the nation, including religious colleges, historically black colleges, and single-sex institutions (About, n.d.). Theoretical Framework

To address transformational leadership in CIC institutions, it is imperative to review relevant theories. Chambliss and Schutt (2010, p. 23) identify a theory as “an integrated set of principles that explains and predicts many, but not all, observed relationships within a given domain of inquiry.” Further, Leedy and Ormrod (2013) describe the identifiable factors of theory building as involving active and intentional thinking about a phenomenon under investigation. As new data emerge from continued...
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