Quality and Quantity

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 315–327 | Cite as

Numbers and words revisited: Being “shamelessly eclectic”

  • Gretchen B. Rossman
  • Bruce L. Wilson


Despite the growing acknowledgement that complex social phenomena can be usefully understood through multiple methods of inquiry, there are few sound examples of mixed-methods research. This paper offers concrete examples from recent policy research in the United States about how qualitative and quantitative methods can be combined to better address complex research questions. Using a conceptual framework developed in 1985 and recently elaborated, we describe how, in both the design and analysis phases of research, combing methods can enhance the research purposes ofcorroborating, elaborating, developing, andinitiating understandings of social phenomena.


United States Research Question Conceptual Framework Analysis Phase Quantitative Method 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bargar, R.R. & Duncan, J.K. (1982). Cultivating creative endeavor in doctoral research,Journal of Higher Education 53: 1–31.Google Scholar
  2. Brewer, J. & Hunter, A. (1989).Multimethod Research: A Synthesis of Styles. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  3. Burrell, G. & Morgan, G. (1979).Sociological Paradigms and Organizational Analysis. London: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  4. Clune, W.H., with White, P., &, Patterson, J. (1989).The Implementation and Effects of High School Graduation Requirements: First Steps toward Curricular Reform. CPRE Research Report Series RR-011. New Brunswick, NJ: Center for Policy Research in Education.Google Scholar
  5. Cook, T.D. & Reichardt, C.S. (eds.). (1979).Oualitative and Quantitative Methods in Evaluation Research Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  6. Corbett, H.D. & Wilson, B.L. (1991).Testing, Reform, and Rebellion. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.Google Scholar
  7. Denzin, N. K. (1970).The Research Act: A Theoretical Introduction to Sociology. New York: Aldine.Google Scholar
  8. Greene, J. C. (1991). Personal communication with authors.Google Scholar
  9. Greene, J. C., Caracelli, V. J., & Graham, W. F. (1989). Towards a conceptual framework for mixed-method evaluation designs.Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 11(3): 255–274.Google Scholar
  10. Grossman, P., Kirst, M., Negash, W., Schmidt-Posner, J., & Garet, M. (1985).Curricular Change in California Comprehensive Hiqh Schools, 1982–83 to 1986–87. PACE Policy Paper 85-7-4. Berkeley, CA: Policy Analysis for California Education.Google Scholar
  11. Jick, T.D. (1979). Mixing qualitative and quantitative methods: Triangulation in action.Administrative Science Quarterly 24: 602–611.Google Scholar
  12. Light, R. J. & Pillemer, D. B. (1982). Numbers and narrative: Combining their strengths in research reviews.Harvard Educational Review 52(1): 1–26.Google Scholar
  13. Lortie, D. C. (1982). Remarks made at a fireside chat at the annual meetings of the American Educational Research Association, Montreal.Google Scholar
  14. Marshall, C. & Rossman, G. B. (1989).Designing Qualitative Research. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  15. Mathison, S. (1988). Why triangulate?Educational Researcher 17(2): 13–17.Google Scholar
  16. McDonnell, L.M. (1988).Coursework Policy in Five States and Its Implications for Indicator Development. Working paper. New Brunswick, NJ: Center for Policy Research in Education.Google Scholar
  17. Miles, M.B. (1991). Personal communication with the authors.Google Scholar
  18. Rossman, G.B. & Wilson, B.L. (1985). Numbers and words: Combining quantitative and qualitative methods in a single large-scale evaluation study.Evaluation Review 9(5): 627–643.Google Scholar
  19. Schatzman, L. & Strauss, A.L. (1973).Field Research: Strategies for a Natural Sociology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  20. Siehl, C. & Martin, J. (1988). Measuring organizational culture: Mixing qualitative and quantitative methods. In M.O. Jones, J.D. Moore, & R.C. Snyders (eds.),Inside Organizations: Understanding the Human Dimension, Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  21. Smith, J.K. (1983). Quantitative versus qualitative research: An attempt to clarify the issue.Educational Researcher 12(3): 6–13.Google Scholar
  22. Wilson, B.L. & Rossman, G.B. (1993).Mandating Academic Excellence: High School Responses to State Curriculum Reform. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gretchen B. Rossman
    • 1
  • Bruce L. Wilson
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Massachusetts at AmherstAmherstUSA
  2. 2.Research for Better SchoolsPhiladelphiaUSA

Personalised recommendations