Introduction: Putting the MIXED back into quantitative and qualitative research in educational research and beyond: Moving toward the radical middle

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97 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although in the last 25 years the methodology of mixed research (also known as mixed methods research) has developed substantially, there are still many vocal critics at both ends of the methodological spectrum (i.e., at the extreme quantitative and qualitative ends). Some of these critics attempt to continue the paradigm wars. Yet, as a collection of research communities, what is needed is mutual respect among all researchers, regardless of epistemological orientation. Mixed researchers can play an important role in promoting this mutual respect. However, it is not enough for mixed methodology researchers to exist in an epistemological space that lies somewhere between the quantitative and qualitative epistemological spaces. Rather, mixed researchers should strive for what is the radical middle, which should not be a passive and comfortable middle space wherein the status quo among quantitative and qualitative epistemologies is maintained, but rather a new theoretical and methodological space in which a socially just and productive coexistence among all research traditions is actively promoted, and in which mixed research is consciously local, dynamic, interactive, situated, contingent, fluid, strategic, and generative. In this editorial, I will identify mental models that problematize the current methodological divide. In so doing, I contend that moving toward the radical middle represents an important step in uniting research communities. I will challenge mixed researchers to guide researchers from other communities toward a more constructivist view of epistemological spaces. To this end, I will outline five themes - represented by the acronym MIXED - for promoting the radical middle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-219
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Multiple Research Approaches
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Mixed methods research
  • Mixed research
  • Paradigm deficit
  • Qualitative research
  • Quantitative research
  • Radical middle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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