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Methoden & Kenntnisse

Mixed Method Analysis

The Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI) frequently applies mixed methods research to provide a comprehensive understanding of a research problem. Conducting mixed methods research involves collecting, analyzing, and interpreting quantitative and qualitative data in a single study. The main goal of mixed method research design is to draw on the strengths and minimize the weaknesses of qualitative and quantitative research.

Research problems most suitable for mixed methods are e.g. the study of new initiatives, complex phenomena, hard-to-measure constructs, or experimental settings. Quantitative outcome measure be become comprehensible using qualitative data and alternatively, qualitative techniques may be used to develop an adequate quantitative instrument (e.g. a questionnaire).
Although a relatively new approach, mixed methods research has been embraced by the scientific community in their practice, academic journals, and handbooks. Mixed methods research has been employed with real success in every people-focused discipline, from psychology and sociology to education and health care. The essential steps to doing appropriate mixed methods research include the definition of challenge, the collection of appropriate data from any relevant source to develop and text hypotheses, rigorous examination of those data for obvious and hidden patterns, the analysis of findings, and the presentation of the results for peer review and audiences education.

Knowhow by ZSI
The ZSI team offers expert know-how on the whole extent of mixed method analysis which encompasses the decision of a specific mixed method design which best addresses the research problem: e.g. multi method, convergence, integrated, or combined research designs. Another important aspect is the formation of mixed methods research questions – like questions that embed quantitative and qualitative research questions – and hypotheses. The next step is the definition of a framework for linking research questions to mixed methods data analysis techniques, then the analysis, validation and interpretation of mixed method data, and finally, writing the mixed methods research report.

Hope in stations
The project 'Hope in stations' aimed at strengthening the integration of social services delivered to homeless and 'itinerant' persons at and around train stations in three different cities: Brussels Central (Brussels), Gare du Nord et Est (Paris), and Roma Termini (Rome). The project created an organisation responsible for connecting the railway station to social service organisations; and it implemented a training programme for railway employees and employees from associated companies, where professional trainers presented tools that help employees in handling situations related to homeless persons. We used the following mix of methods to evaluate project results: expert interviews, a quantitative survey on homeless people, a quantitative and qualitative training programme evaluation, qualitative interviews with social service organisations, and a quantitative network analysis on local social service networks. The mix of different methods allowed us to come up with valid, reliable, and robust results. We were not only able to assess the impact of the interventions but also to better understand the complex, local contexts in which different organisations tried to implement new coordination and support structures for the benefit of homeless persons.

Ansprechperson: Mag.ª Dr. Stefanie Konzett-Smoliner, (in Karenz / maternity leave)

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