Extending understandings

Possibilities and considerations for mixed methods research





mixed methods research, research methods, culturally responsive research, wicked problems, research quality


Mixed methods research is increasingly popular both within and beyond education because of the advantages offered by combining qualitative and quantitative methods. Some mixed methods research, however, does not fully harness the potential or depth that mixed methods has to offer. In this article, I consider some of this potential in terms of how mixed methods research can contribute to addressing “wicked problems,” theory generation, and culturally responsive research. I then discuss two important considerations for quality mixed methods research: appropriate paradigmatic foundations and the genuine integration of qualitative and quantitative components. The article is intended to provide both provocations and resources for those learning about, teaching about, considering, using, or contributing to mixed methods research in education.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Katrina McChesney, University of Waikato

Dr Katrina McChesney is a senior lecturer in initial teacher education at the University of Waikato’s Tauranga campus. Her research centres on people’s experiences within educational spaces, places, and activities, and is guided by the fundamental question: What is it like for you?


Alise, M. A., & Teddlie, C. (2010). A continuation of the paradigm wars? Prevalence rates of methodological approaches across the social/behavioral sciences. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 4(2), 103-126. https://doi.org/10.1177/1558689809360805 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1558689809360805

Bergman, M. M. (2011). The good, the bad, and the ugly in mixed methods research and design. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 5(4), 271-275. https://doi.org/10.1177/1558689811433236 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1558689811433236

Berryman, M., SooHoo, S., & Nevin, A. (Eds.) (2013). Culturally responsive methodologies. Emerald.

Bourke, R., & Loveridge, J. (2017). Exploring wicked problems and challenging status quo thinking through educational research. New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, 52(1), 1-5. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40841-017-0083-2 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40841-017-0083-2

Creamer, E. (2018). An introduction to fully integrated mixed methods research. Sage. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4135/9781071802823

Creamer, E., & Edwards, C. (2019). Embedding the dialogic in mixed method approaches to theory development. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 42(3), 239-251. https://doi.org/10.1080/1743727X.2019.1598357 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1743727X.2019.1598357

Creswell, J. (2011). Controversies in mixed methods research. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), Sage handbook of qualitative research (4th ed., pp. 269-284). Sage.

Creswell, J., & Plano Clark, V. L. (2017). Designing and conducting mixed methods research (3rd ed.). Sage.

Cronenberg, S., & Headley, M. G. (2019). Dialectic dialogue: Reflections on adopting a dialectic stance. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 42(3), 267-287. https://doi.org/10.1080/1743727X.2019.1590812 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1743727X.2019.1590812

Diamond, D. J. (2013). Investigating the social supports of successful Māori undergraduate appellants at the University of Waikato (Master’s thesis). University of Waikato. https://hdl.handle.net/10289/8446

Fetters, M. D., & Molina-Azorin, J. F. (2017). The Journal of Mixed Methods Research starts a new decade: The mixed methods research integration trilogy and its dimensions. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 11(3), 291-307. https://doi.org/10.1177/1558689817714066 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1558689817714066

Ford, T. (2010). Examining culturally responsive leadership: An investigation into how one school leader, in a primary school setting, provides culturally responsive leadership that ensures Māori students achieve (Master’s thesis). University of Waikato. https://hdl.handle.net/10289/5594

Greene, J. C. (2012). Engaging critical issues in social inquiry by mixing methods. American Behavioral Scientist, 56(6), 755-773. https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764211433794 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764211433794

Greene, J. C., & Caracelli, V. J. (1997). Defining and describing the paradigm issue in mixed-method evaluation. New Directions for Evaluation, 74, 5-17. https://doi.org/10.1002/ev.1068 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/ev.1068

Greene, J. C., & Hall, J. N. (2010). Dialectics and pragmatism: Being of consequence. In A. Tashakkori & C. Teddlie (Eds.), Sage handbook of mixed methods in social and behavioral research (pp. 119-144). Sage. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4135/9781506335193.n5

Guetterman, T. C., Molina-Azorin, J. F., & Fetters, M. D. (2020). Virtual special issue on “Integration in mixed methods research”. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 14(4), 430-435. https://doi.org/10.1177/1558689820956401 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1558689820956401

Jarrett, C. (2014). Pacific girls’ perceptions of the enablers and barriers in Level 3 NCEA English: A little talanoa goes a long way (Master’s thesis). University of Auckland. http://hdl.handle.net/2292/24597

Jarrett, C. (2017). Pacific girls’ perceptions of the enablers and barriers in Level 3 NCEA English: A little talanoa goes a long way. In R. Jesson, A. Wilson, S. McNaughton, & M. Lai (Eds.), Teachers leading inquiry for school problem solving (pp. 13-17). NZCER Press.

Johnson, R. B., & Onwuegbuzie, A. J. (2004). Mixed methods research: A paradigm whose time has come. Educational Researcher, 33(7), 14-26. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X033007014 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X033007014

Johnson, R. B., Onwuegbuzie, A. J., & Turner, L. A. (2007). Toward a definition of mixed methods research. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 1(2), 112-133. https://doi.org/10.1177/1558689806298224 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1558689806298224

Lee, J. (2009). Decolonising Māori narratives: Pūrakau as a method. MAI Review, 2, Article 3. http://www.review.mai.ac.nz/mrindex/MR/article/view/242.html

Lehner-Mear, R. (2020). Negotiating the ethics of Netnography: Developing an ethical approach to an online study of mother perspectives. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 23(2), 123-137. https://doi.org/10.1080/13645579.2019.1634879 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13645579.2019.1634879

Levac, L., McMurtry, L., Stiensra, D., Baikie, G., Hanson, C., & Mucina, D. (2018). Learning across Indigenous and Western knowledge systems and intersectionality: Reconciling social science research approaches. https://www.criaw-icref.ca/images/userfiles/files/Learning%20Across%20Indigenous%20and%20Western%20KnowledgesFINAL.pdf

Macfarlane, A., & Macfarlane, S. (2019). Listen to culture: Māori scholars’ plea to researchers. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 49(S1), 48-57. https://doi.org/10.1080/03036758.2019.1661855 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03036758.2019.1661855

Mahuika, N., & Mahuika, R. (2020). Wānanga as a research methodology. AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, 16(4), 369-377. https://doi.org/10.1177/1177180120968580 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1177180120968580

Maxwell, J. A. (2016). Expanding the history and range of mixed methods research. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 10(1), 12-27. https://doi.org/10.1177/1558689815571132 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1558689815571132

McChesney, K. (2017). Investigating teachers’ experiences of professional development within a major education reform in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (Doctoral thesis). Curtin University. http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11937/57566

McChesney, K. (2020, August 11). Problems and possibilities: Exploring paradigms for mixed methods research. Cancelled Conference Conversations (online conference series). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343601466_Problems_possibilities_Exploring_paradigms_for_mixed_methods_research

McChesney, K., & Aldridge, J. (2019a). Weaving an interpretivist stance throughout mixed methods research. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 42(3), 225-238. https://doi.org/10.1080/1743727X.2019.1590811 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1743727X.2019.1590811

McChesney, K., & Aldridge, J. M. (2019b). What gets in the way? A new conceptual model for the trajectory from teacher professional development to impact. Professional Development in Education (advance online publication). https://doi.org/10.1080/19415257.2019.1667412 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/19415257.2019.1667412

Mertens, D. M., Bazeley, P., Bowleg, L., Fielding, N., Maxwell, J., Molina-Azorin, J. F., & Niglas, K. (2016). Expanding thinking through a kaleidoscopic look into the future: Implications of the Mixed Methods International Research Association’s task force report on the future of mixed methods. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 10(3), 221-227. https://doi.org/10.1177/1558689816649719 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1558689816649719

Milne, A. (2020). Colouring in the white spaces: The warrior-researchers of Kia Aroha College. Curriculum Perspectives, 40, 87-91.

https://doi.org/10.1007/s41297-019-00092-2 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s41297-019-00092-2

Msoroka M. S., & Amundsen, D. (2018). One size fits not quite all: Universal research ethics with diversity. Research Ethics, 14(3), 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1177/1747016117739939 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1747016117739939

Naufahu, M. (2018). A Pasifika research methodology: Talaloto. Waikato Journal of Education, 23(1), 15–24. https://doi.org/10.15663/wje.v23i1.635 DOI: https://doi.org/10.15663/wje.v23i1.635

Ong, P. A. L. (2020). Visual research methods: Qualifying and quantifying the visual. Beijing International Review of Education, 2(1), 35-53. https://doi.org/10.1163/25902539-00201004 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/25902539-00201004

Poth, C. (2019). Realizing the integrative capacity of educational mixed methods research teams: Using a complexity-sensitive strategy to boost innovation. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 42(3), 252-266. https://doi.org/10.1080/1743727X.2019.1590813 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1743727X.2019.1590813

Richards, S. M. (2017). A critical analysis of a culturally responsive pedagogy towards improving Māori achievement (Master’s thesis). University of Waikato. https://hdl.handle.net/10289/11583

Rittel, H. W. J., & Webber, M. M. (1973). Dilemmas in a general theory of planning. Policy Sciences, 4, 155-169. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01405730 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01405730

Sablan, J. R. (2018). Can you really measure that? Combining critical race theory and quantitative methods. American Educational Research Journal, 56(1), 178-203. https://doi.org/10.3102/0002831218798325 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3102/0002831218798325

Shannon-Baker, P. (2016). Making paradigms meaningful in mixed methods research. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 10(4), 319-334. https://doi.org/10.1177/1558689815575861 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1558689815575861

Si’ilata, R. (2014). Va‘a tele: Pasifika learners riding the success wave on linguistically and culturally responsive pedagogies (Doctoral thesis). University of Auckland. http://hdl.handle.net/2292/23402

Smith, L. T. (1999). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples. Zed Books.

Smith, L. T. (2005). On tricky ground: Researching the native in the age of uncertainty. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), Sage handbook of qualitative research (3rd ed., pp. 85–107). Sage.

Vaioleti. T. M. (2006). Talanoa research methodology: A developing position on Pacific research. Waikato Journal of Education, 12, 21-34. https://doi.org/10.15663/wje.v12i1.296 DOI: https://doi.org/10.15663/wje.v12i1.296

Walter, M., & Andersen, C. (2013). Indigenous statistics: A quantitative research methodology. Left Coast Press.

Yin, R. K. (2006). Mixed methods research: Are the methods genuinely integrated or merely parallel? Research in the Schools, 13(1), 41-47.