Quality and Quantity

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 43–53 | Cite as

Revisiting the Quantitative-Qualitative Debate: Implications for Mixed-Methods Research

  • Joanna E. M. Sale
  • Lynne H. Lohfeld
  • Kevin Brazil
Article

Abstract

Health care research includes many studies that combine quantitative and qualitative methods. In this paper, we revisit the quantitative-qualitative debate and review the arguments for and against using mixed-methods. In addition, we discuss the implications stemming from our view, that the paradigms upon which the methods are based have a different view of reality and therefore a different view of the phenomenon under study. Because the two paradigms do not study the same phenomena, quantitative and qualitative methods cannot be combined for cross-validation or triangulation purposes. However, they can be combined for complementary purposes. Future standards for mixed-methods research should clearly reflect this recommendation.

mixed-methodology quantitative-qualitative debate qualitative methods quantitative methods scientific paradigms 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joanna E. M. Sale
    • 1
  • Lynne H. Lohfeld
    • 2
  • Kevin Brazil
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for Work & Health; Health Research Methodology Program, Department of Clinical Epidemiology & BiostatisticsMcMaster UniversityCanada
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Epidemiology & BiostatisticsMcMaster UniversityCanada
  3. 3.Department of Clinical Epidemiology & BiostatisticsMcMaster UniversityCanada

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