I am sitting in a second key note session with Professor Jennifer Mason, ‘Creative Tensions? Reflections on Mixed Methods in a Qualitatively-Driven Way’.
I want to share a part of her speech here that made me think the most. In that part, she lists some reasons why she doesn’t feel comfortable with the concept of mixing in mixed methods research. To begin with, she provides a few famous dictionary definitions of mixing and mixed salad research is the term that results in laughter of the whole auditorium:>. She believes that the term ‘mixing’ implies fusion, compromise, loss of distinctiveness and ambivalence. Therefore, mixing is not a concept that is going to inspire or excite us. Then she addresses orthodoxies as inherent to mixed methods and I didn’t quite get that part, must admit:>. She further believes that typologies can be stultifying. Mixed methods are too full of rules and recipes and that can deskill and lead to ‘methodological inhibition’. Her next uneasiness about mixing is reductions and reifications. A priori we have a feeling that things are being mixed so we can talk about how we can mix them. She believes that reduces the mixing itself and makes it rather simplistic process. Methods are much messier. The next thing worrying her is a complete knowledge that is assumed by mixing methods. There is an implicit assumption here that the perfect and complete knowledge is the best one. Well, a complete knowledge is a fiction and it doesn’t mean that more knowledge will bring better results. We should not avoid partiality at all costs when doing research – it doesn’t mean that the research is limited or lacking something just because it is partial.
Pity she stops here with the critics of mixing, I am actually enjoying it. However, when we do the mixing or the integration, we do not make hybrid methods but we use each methods fully and in a creative ways. Therefore we only ‘mix’ or ‘integrate’ the results and interpretations in most of the cases.