What Is Multiple Methods in Research? A Detailed Guide

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Have you ever used two or more methods and more than one data source in a research study? If yes, then you have used multiple methods in research. Yes, multiple method research is a type of research in which you use more than one data source, either primary or secondary and more than one research method. It is a relatively new research method that is not the most common. It is why many of you might not know about this research method. Hence, keeping this in mind, today’s article is all about describing this new method of researching a topic. There will be a mention of the benefits as well as challenges associated with this method. However, before that, let’s define the multiple methods in research.

What does it mean by multiple methods in research?

A multiple-method in research is a new research approach. It is defined as the type of research in which the data is gathered from more than one source and exercise more than one analysis method. It is important to note that in this research you can use two or more qualitative research methods or two or more quantitative research methods. The mixed-method approach, i.e., using qualitative and quantitative research methods combined, also comes under this research method. Please note that research is not multiple method if you:

  • Exercise one data source and two research methods
  • Employ one research method and two or more data sources

What are some data sources you can use in this research?

From the discussion above, it is clear that multiple research methods use more than one data source. Now, you must be thinking about what those data sources are? Do not think too much, as they are only two in number. One data source is called a primary source, which the researcher himself collects. The other data source is called secondary. The data in the later source is collected by someone else and used by someone else. Now, the sources of getting primary and secondary data are different. If you have any confusion in sources for data collection, you can hire experts of dissertation proposal writing services.

What are the famous research methods?

Two research methods are used mostly in every kind of study. One is a quantitative research method, and the other is a qualitative method. Multiple methods in research use two or more quantitative or qualitative research methods. The famous qualitative research methods are interviews, focus groups, and observations. The quantitative research methods are correlations, experiments, and quasi-experimental methods. The multiple-method research uses a combination of the above methods.

Benefits and challenges of multiple methods in research

By reading the information above, you know about different sources and research methods that can be used in this method. Still, you do not know the benefits of using multiple methods in research. You also do not know the challenges that you may have to face while using this method. This section will describe both benefits and challenges. Hence, a brief description of the benefits is as follows:

Benefits

Can answer broader research questions

Research questions are the questions that form the direction of any research. A researcher conducts research to answer the research questions. So, there is no point in researching a topic if you cannot answer all the research questions. The use of multiple methods in research helps you in answering all the questions. As you use multiple data sources and research methods, each method answers a different question. Hence, this way, it is the benefit of this method that it helps you answer broader research questions without any difficulty.

Compensates the weakness of a single research method

A single research method sometimes is not able to answer all the parts of a research study. It cannot achieve the full research objectives. However, by using multiple methods in research, you can attain the research aims. If one research method is unable to answer a question, the other method can do so. This way, all the methods work mutually in this research method to help the researcher achieve his research objectives.

Provides a holistic understating of the issue

The multiple research method approach provides a holistic understanding of the issue under study. It does so by providing an answer to each research question and attaining every defined research aim. It allows you to study the topic from each possible angle, which makes the issue more understandable. Hence, it is the biggest advantage of using this method.

Challenges

Takes more sources to conduct

The biggest challenge of using multiple methods in research is that it takes more resources. As you are dealing with more than two data sources and more than two research methods, obviously, you need to spend some extra time on this. Using more than one method can also cost you extra money to buy the resources. Also, you need enhanced expertise to work on such a project which involves multiple methods. You need to be profound in each method being applied. Hence, this is a challenge you should be aware of.

Difficulties in the review process

Conducting the review of single-method research is very difficult. Based on this, reviewing the multiple-methods research is very challenging. You need to be very careful about each sentence, and each method applied. Sometimes, more than one research methods confuse a researcher. So, you must behave carefully when editing or reviewing this research.

Difficulty in reporting results

It is obvious that when you use more than one research method, it will be difficult to report its results. The results will be so much and so confusing that you will have headaches while representing them in a documented form. Moreover, you may face difficulties in reporting the results according to the requirements of the journals. So, keep this difficulty also in mind.

Conclusion

All in all, multiple-methods research is one which employs more than one data source and more than one research method. The research methods could be qualitative, quantitative, or both depending on the research requirements. Also, using multiple methods in research comes with its own benefits and challenges. The major benefits and challenges are mentioned above. Read and decide whether you want to use this method or not.

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