Edited by Russell W. Belk
Chapter 15: Mixed Methods in Interpretive Research: An Application to the Study of the Self Concept
Shalini Bahl and George R. Milne Introduction Interpretive research by its very nature is multi-method, involving diﬀerent forms of data collection, multiple studies, the use of triangulation, and so forth. Illustrative of a multimethods approach in interpretive research is the study by Belk, Wallendorf and Sherry (1989), which used a combination of observation, ﬁeld notes, interviews, photographs and video. Less common, however, in interpretive research, is the use of mixed methods, which we deﬁne as a research approach comprising qualitative and quantitative methodologies for both data collection and analysis. The mixed methods approach is not frequently used in interpretive research owing in part to the paradigm wars, which have created artiﬁcial barriers that limit the use of methods across paradigms. In marketing, the positivist and interpretive paradigms have been proﬁled in terms of their ontological, axiological and epistemological assumptions (Hudson and Ozanne, 1988) that have been historically tied to the qualitative versus quantitative camps (Deshpande, 1983). In the marketing literature most articles employing mixed methods have a positivist orientation. The philosophical assumptions guiding positivist research include an objective view of reality, which the research seeks to measure and explain. Consistent with its ontological and axiological assumptions, positivist research seeks the creation of knowledge that is generalizable across diﬀerent people, times and situations and is, thus, time- and context-free. While the methods used in positivist research have primarily been quantitative, qualitative methods have been used but only to support the quantitative methods in the development of...
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