Thank you for focusing on Bryman and the difficulties of integrating typologies of research.
To add to your quotations from him, I’d like to add this one: “they reflect a tendency for the rationales for using multi-strategy research not to be thought through sufficiently” (Bryman, 2006, p.110). Not only may multi-strategy use be “deleterious”, it may result in situations that go far beyond the reach of the initial research question and methodology.
When a research question is being formulated, so too must be appropriate methodologies for investigating the question. The internal validity of the research must be in question if the data generated by the methodological instruments falls significantly outside the original bounds. I wonder if some writers are tempted to redesign a study after the data collection …
When Bryman mentions this point, “multi-strategy research provides such a wealth of data that researchers discover uses of the ensuing findings that they had not anticipated”. (p. 110), he does not address either of the two serious issues implicit: 1) the validity problem in the research, and 2) the ethical problem.
I’m too inexperienced to fully grasp what’s going on here, and the readings so far have not touched on this subject. But, I wonder, what is the status of a erstwhile principled study that somehow generates results far beyond the initial expectations? Do the data invalidate the grounds for the study? Can they even be used? To take a well-known example from quantitative methodologies, a p-value of 0.05 represents the degree of chance that the results could be reproduced by chance, in this case 1-in-20. Replicating any study 20 times would (statistically) have that chance result happening once. No one in statistics takes such widly reproduced chance data seriously. But I ask if there’s a parallel situation here with qualitative massive data?
What I would question is if the initial depth behind a research question was sufficient, principled, and fully understood if the data were highly unexpected. I mean, surely, no self-respecting researcher would have no idea of what kinds of data could be expected given their considerations of instrument, time, sampling, and so on?
Yin (2006) questions if mixed-method studies are really “single” studies or in fact multiple studies in the same paper. If the latter, my question remains the same.
Bryman, A. (2006). Integrating quanitatice and qualitative research: how is it done? Qualitative Research, 6(97), 97-113.
Yin, R. K. (2006). Mixed methods research: Are the methods genuinely integrated or merely parallel? Research in the Schools, 13(1), 41-47.