Network MMMR – Workshop #1

An Interdisciplinary Network on the Methodology and dfg logo
Applications of Integrative Research Methods


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The first workshop meeting of the network „Mixed Methods and Multimethod Research” took place on January 26 and 27, 2018 at Helmut-Schmidt-University Hamburg.

Videos of the network contributions can be found here.

At the workshop 17 social scientists from Germany, Austria, Switzerland discussed the topic of “Current Conceptualizations and Applications of Mixed Methods and Multimethod Research”.  Questions of research methods and design (e.g. data analysis, design templates, sampling) as well as methodological and philosophical issues (e.g. the meaning of the paradigm concept, the significance of critical rationalism) were debated.

In his keynote lecture John Creswell (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) provided a historical overview of the development of MMMR, focusing on the differences and similarities between several social science disciplines. He emphasized recent advances in establishing integrative research methods, especially in the anglophone research communities. Outstanding current developments  include the newly founded Michigan Mixed Methods Research and Scholarship Program at the University of Michigan, as well as the introduction of best practice guidelines for qualitative and mixed research  in the Style-Manual of the American Psychological Association.

Burke Johnson (University of South Alabama, Mobile) argued for a pluralistic perspective on the analysis of causality in his keynote lecture. Starting from a broad overview of the manifold philosophical conceptions of causality, Johnson proposed an integrative methodology which encourages actively searching for possible combinations of different methods of causal analysis. The concept of „causal mosaic“, developed together with his co-authors Federica Russo and Judith Schoonenboom, was proposed as a heuristic framework for such method integration.

The papers presented on January 27th highlighted the interdisciplinary nature of the network MMMR, spanning the fields of psychology (Peter Holtz, Özen Odag), educational science (Michaela Gläser-Zikuda, Gerda Hagenauer), and sociology (Felix Knappertsbusch, Udo Kelle).

Peter Holtz and Özen Odag provided a comprehensive discussion of common misrepresentations of the methodological and epistemological work of Karl Popper. Contrary to such misconceptions, they argued, critical rationalism does provide a productive methodological framework for qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research alike. The subsequent discussion of their argument revealed interesting differences in the reception and significance of Poppers work in German vs. Anglophone scientific discourse.

Felix Knappertsbusch presented an extended application of Andrew Abbott’s concept of „fractal heuristics“ to MMMR. Fractal distinctions were proposed as a heuristic tool for exploring the fuzzy boundaries between seemingly distinct mono-method approaches, highlighting their complementary and encouraging method integration. In addition to that, Knappertsbusch showed how the fractal heuristic can provide helpful orientation in navigating the multitude of different MMMR-methodologies and bridging the fault lines between rival approaches.

Michaela Gläser-Zikuda and Gerda Hagenauer gave an overview of the current state of MMMR in educational science. They described a predominance of quantitative methods traditions within the field of method integration, and a corresponding skepticism towards mixed methods designs common among qualitative researchers. Using examples from their own research, they pointed out avenues towards equal status method integration in educational research.

Udo Kelle developed a critique of the paradigm notion as introduced by Egon Guba und Yvonna Lincoln. On epistemological as well as social-theory grounds, he rejected the premise of a deterministic relation between chosen methodological frameworks and research practice, as well as the assumption of paradigm incommensurability. Using examples from his own research, Kelle demonstrated the compatibility of realist and constructionist perspectives within the same research project.

All in all, the workshop showed the many facets of current MMMR discourses, as well as the of persisting tensions and barriers between different methodological traditions in social science. A reocurring topic of debate was how  boundaries between different approaches to social research are not only shaped by methodological issues, but also by political, international and interdisciplinary differences. Especially the perspectives of our guest speakers Burke Johnson und John Creswell provided valuable insights into the diversity of the current MMMR landscape.


Letzte Änderung: 24. February 2018