You don’t know exactly how you want to proceed with your thesis and you are considering whether it should be quantitative or qualitative? Then I have good news: just do both!

Reading tip: Qualitative and quantitative research

Mixed Method combines the advantages of both types

The mixed method approach means that you use various quantitative and qualitative research methods (Kuckhartz 2014). The advantages are that a research question can be illuminated by several research methods.

The advantage of the thesis is that you can shed light on a question in two ways and make findings that were not possible on purely qualitative or quantitative research (Roch 2017).

Different variants of the mixed method approach

There are different versions of the mixed method approach. To do this, look at the following illustration.

Illustration of the mixed method approach (based on Roch 2017 )

The mixed method approaches usually have a dominant research method. This can be qualitative or quantitative. It is seldom that both methods are equally weighted in theses. I’ll give you a few examples:

  • You compare the results of qualitative interviews and a quantitative survey (equal status)
  • You evaluate data from a quantitative survey through qualitative interviews with experts (predominantly quantitative)
  • You underpin the statements of qualitative interviews with a quantitative survey (predominantly qualitative)

Reading tip: Development of a research design

Conclusion

If you combine research methods, you specifically hide the disadvantages of the methods. For example, hard facts, i.e. survey data, are usually difficult to interpret and can be substantiated by interviews with experts. At the same time, you can also back up the statements of experts with data.

On the one hand, knowledge of both research methods is necessary, but on the other hand you also save effort, as it is, for example, It is enough if you question 5 interviews and 15 test subjects instead of conducting 20 expert interviews.

There are no guidelines in the distribution of research methods as it always depends on the context. Often you only know which method dominates in the course of the research. I recommend using the mixed method approaches, especially in master’s theses. In the bachelor thesis, a literature analysis paired with a qualitative or quantitative method is often sufficient.

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Kuckartz, U. (2014). Mixed Methods . Heidelberg: Springer.

Smelt, S. (2015). Research-based learning at the European University of Flensburg – Survey methods . University publishing house: Flensburg.

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I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

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