Is mixing of paradigms a problem or a solution?

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    Santosh Mishra

    Mixed Methods Research involves mixing of paradigms. Though some feel that it is problematic and unacceptable, some others claim that such unions may be helpful in carrying out research in more reliable and valid ways. I request you to share your thoughts regarding the above mentioned viewpoints. Thank you.


    DWhen you say ‘paradigm’, do you mean a research philosophy or a research design? Could you give some paradigms that you think that could be combined in mixed methods?

    Santosh Mishra

    Sorry Linda! I should have mentioned that by paradigm I meant the underlying philosophies like Positivism, Constructivism, etc. Thanks for drawing my attention.




    Pragmatism or critical realism are often mentioned as paradigms for mixed methods.  The approach in pragmatism is that your research questions should determine the research method you adopt. Sage publish the Journal of Mixed Methods Research and there are some useful articles in there.


    Since different philosophies usually make fundamentally incompatible assumptions about the social world, I find it difficult to bridge different paradigms and would say it is a problem, not a solution to anything.


    As synthesis or as dialectical issue, mixing is an acceptable, justifiable proposal. Specific paradigms could also be wrong in their application.

    Willie 17

    As Ingo mentioned, mixing two divergent assumptions could be problematic, and overly confusing particularly to novince researchers. I am against blending two opposing assumptions on the philosophical level, but seems doable on the technical level (data collection techniques). 

    Catherine Westbrook

    Have you read Chapter 10 of Tashakkori and Teddlie Mixed Methods in Social and Behavioral Research by Stephen Gorard? A very forthright opinion on the fakeness of paradigms (his opinion – not mine)..but an interesting viewpoint none the less.

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