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Mixed Method Research in Criminology: Why Not Go Both Ways?

  • Shadd Maruna

Abstract

This chapter explores mixed method research designs that seek to combine elements of qualitative and quantitative research into a criminological investigation. This is neither a new nor a radical concept. Indeed, the differences between so-called “qualitative” methods and so-called “quantitative” methods in social science have been called “more apparent than real” (Hanson 2008: 97; see also Newman and Benz 1998; Ragin 1994). So, in a very real sense, all criminological research is “mixed methods” research. Yet, the approach remains under-appreciated and under-utilized in contemporary criminological research. The same is not true outside the discipline. First emerging as a concept around three decades ago (see esp. Brewer and Hunter 1989; Jick 1979; Fielding and Fielding 1986), “mixed methods research” has become something of a new buzzword in methodology circles with major international conferences, journals such as the Journal of Mixed method Research, Field Methods, and Quality and Quantity, and a comprehensive handbook all of its own (Tashakkori and Teddlie 2003).

Importantly, the practice of mixed method research has been around much longer than the brand name (see esp. Teddlie and Tashakkori 2003). In the early decades of social scientific research, qualitative and quantitative research coexisted far more peacefully than today, and mixed method designs were a feature of some of the most important research of the time (see e.g., Whyte’s 1943 Street Corner Society; Roethlisberger & Dickson’s 1939 “Hawthorne Effect” studies; Warner and Lunt’s 1941 “Yankee City” research; and much of the Chicago School of Sociology’s output). This happy mixing of qualitative and quantitative approaches to social science continued throughout what Denzin and Lincoln (2005) refer to as the “Golden Age” of qualitative research, post-World War II, with ground-breaking mixed method research such as Festinger’s studies of cults (e.g., Festinger et al. 1956); Short and Strodtbeck’s (1965) gang research; and Zimbardo’s (1969) simulated prison studies (for a history of mixed method research in social science, see Hunter and Brewer 2003).

Keywords

Qualitative Research Mixed Method Quantitative Research Qualitative Comparative Analysis Mixed Method Research 
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.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shadd Maruna
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Law, Queen’s University BelfastBelfastNorthern Ireland

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