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Home arrow Environment arrow Research Methods in Anthropology: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches
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MIXED METHODS

Finally, this: With all the great techniques out there for collecting systematic data, there is nothing to stop you from using several methods, even wildly different methods like narratives, questionnaires, and randomized response, in the same study. By now, you know that there is no need to choose between qualitative and quantitative data. Whether you are doing exploratory or confirmatory research, a sensible mix of methods—methods that match the needs of the research—is what you’re after.

Furthermore, there is no formula for how to mix methods. You’ll use ethnography to develop good questions for a questionnaire, but you’ll also use ethnography to interpret and flesh out the results from questionnaires. Ethnography can tell you what parameters you want to estimate, but you need survey data to actually estimate parameters. Ethnography tells you that patrilateral cross-cousin marriage is preferred, but it takes a survey to find out how often the rule is obeyed or ignored. And then it takes more ethnography to find out how people rationalize ignoring the culturally preference. Researchers who are comfortable with both words and numbers routinely move back and forth, without giving it a moment’s thought.

Today, mixed methods is becoming the norm rather than something interesting to talk about. Not a moment too soon, either (Further Reading: mixed methods).

 
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