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When Is Mixed Methods Research Used?

By: Toby Finden-Crofts


Mixed method research uses multiple methodologies to ascertain contextually rich information.

In finance, for example, quantitative methods are well-suited for capturing numerical data – such as fluctuations in share prices or patterns in consumer spending.

Meanwhile, qualitative methods fill gaps by exploring the opinions, attitudes, and motivations that drive behaviour and decisions. Interviews, focus groups, and case studies uncover themes, ideas and topics that numbers alone can’t reveal.

So, when should you use mixed methods research?


When Is Mixed Methods Research Used?


Mixed method research is often deployed when neither qualitative nor quantitative methods alone can comprehensively answer a research problem. It’s a common approach in academia, where statistical findings are enriched with primary qualitative data (e.g. interviews) or secondary qualitative data (e.g. a literature review).

 A business may use quantitative methods to gather numerical data on market trends and qualitative interviews to delve into customer opinions and attitudes.

Suppose a financial institution wants to assess the risk profile of a new financial product, while quantitative analysis might evaluate the product’s performance under various market conditions, qualitative research could probe into market sentiment and possible consumer reactions.


Why Is Mixed Method Research Important?


Mixed methods research can be applied to a myriad of problems and questions in financial and marketing research.

Here’s why it’s important:


Enhanced Flexibility


High-quality financial research can leverage both quantitative and qualitative methods to answer challenging questions.

For example, initial qualitative interviews might reveal unexpected viewpoints that warrant quantitative validation. Conversely, statistical findings may raise questions that warrant qualitative investigation.

The adaptability of mixed methods is crucial for making informed, strategic decisions.

  • Multiple Methodologies: The fundamental advantage of high-quality research lies in toggling between quantitative and qualitative methods.
  • Iterative and Flexible: In some cases, it might be necessary to enrich stats with qualitative data, and the same can apply in reverse.
  • Strategic Alignment: Flexibility ensures that decisions are based on diverse data, which improves decision-making.


Wider Reach


By incorporating both qualitative and quantitative elements, mixed method research broadens a study’s reach into different factors.

Instead of limiting themselves to numerical metrics or behavioural indicators, analysts can draw upon various evidence-collecting tools – from questionnaires and statistical analyses to interviews and observational studies.

This opens approaches for collecting financial insights grounded in contextually relevant information.

  • Comprehensive Research Scope: Including qualitative and quantitative elements, making the research more extensive, expanding its reach and impact.
  • Versatile Data Collection: Researchers can utilise questionnaires, statistical analyses, interviews, and observational studies, ensuring a well-rounded approach to data gathering.
  • Contextual Financial Analysis: By using multiple methodologies, research can provide financial insights that are robust and relevant to real-world scenarios.


Triangulation Of Data


Making decisions based on skewed or partial data can be result in costly mistakes. Triangulation, the practice of using multiple methods to collect data, is a proven method for cross-checking and validating results.

For instance, financial insights based on quantitative data might be corroborated with qualitative feedback from interviews. This reduces the risk of erroneous conclusions and provides more reliable outcomes.

  • Risk Mitigation: Using multiple data collection methods helps avoid the pitfalls of relying on skewed or incomplete data.
  • Cross-Validation for Reliability: Financial forecasts based on quantitative data can be cross-checked with qualitative feedback to ensure they’re robust and reliable.
  • Confidence in Outcomes: Triangulation increases confidence in research findings and mitigates the risk of making decisions based on faulty data.


Encourages A Complete Understanding of A Topic


Financial markets and consumer behaviour are dynamic and multifaceted, influenced by various factors ranging from economic policies to psychological biases.

Mixed methods research effectively evaluates complex topics by ensuring that both the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ are studied in tandem. Statistical insights are grounded in their social, cultural, or behavioural contexts.

  • Holistic Understanding: Tackles both the quantitative metrics and the qualitative factors behind them, offering a complete understanding of the topic.
  • Linking Data to Real World: Qualitative data ensures the numerical data is grounded in a real-world context.
  • Incorporation of Cultural and Social Factors: The research considers the broader context, incorporating social, cultural, and behavioural factors into its findings.

Explore A Wide Range of Methodologies with Research In Finance


When it comes to researching complex topics in finance, a one-size-fits-all approach is seldom sufficient. Businesses seeking exemplary market research services can benefit immensely from nuanced mixed method research.

Market research services that leverage mixed methods combine robust quantitative data with contextually grounded qualitative data. Whether it’s understanding market trends or customer behaviours, combining methods can provide a richer, more nuanced understanding.


In-depth research insights with Research in Finance


Research in Finance’s wide-ranging financial market research capabilities, proprietary data and industry knowledge help leading asset management firms, life companies, insurers and industry bodies make critical business decisions and further their product development, marketing and communication strategies.

Our extensive financial insights and experience surveying and speaking with thousands of consumers and industry professionals makes us a trusted partner to both our clients and our research panellists.

To find out more about how we can help you with your research requirements, please get in touch!