Achieving a Doctorate Through Mixed Methods Research


  • Caroline Stockman


Keywords: mixed-methods, Ph.D.


Abstract: The journey of any doctorate is a challenging one. It constitutes a learning curve for postgraduate students towards becoming effective and fully independent academics. Through a concern for effective mentoring, the challenges of the doctoral effort have been well‑documented. The particular issues a Ph.D. student may face when choosing a mixed methods design merits some further attention, however. Mixed‑methods research is growing in popularity across academic domains and levels. Achieving a doctorate through a mixed methods study can be a very fruitful endeavour indeed. Excellent core handbooks, example studies and ongoing formalisation of the approach aid in delivering successful work. Yet the chosen methodological path may also bring up some specific hurdles. This paper aims to discuss some of those potential barriers as learning opportunities, and offer an initial discussion of the support systems. Specifically highlighted as potential challenges are the current trendy nature of mixed methods research, the search for optimal design, the development of skills, domain loyalties and paradigm problems, specific difficulties in publishing, isolation threat and justification needs. For Ph.D. students, an understanding of these challenges is a first step towards overcoming them, and achieving conscious competence.



1 Dec 2015