Multi-method Research DesignUse of three or different methods in a research design is called triangulation. This design produces research of high validity.
Using competing hypothesis analysis is related to looking at all possible solutions and this directly supports triangulation.One should always strive to conduct a research with a multi-method or a triangulated research design. In research, triangulation is important to establish and confirm the validity of the research process. The multi-method or triangulation process means that the same phenomenon or construct is studied or observed using a combination of methods.
This is a method of establishing the preciseness of information by combining three or more separate points of views for data sources. These different points of view have a bearing on the same set of findings. Triangulation is considered very important in case studies. The usual method used in triangulation is to use a combination of observation, interviews and surveys.
Another approach is to use multiple sources of data in case studies (Richards, L 2006).
Let us consider the material used for case studies. Documents can be used in case studies. These documents can be deceiving.
They can lead to false leads and incorrect conclusions. So what does a good researcher do? He uses different types of documents. He uses letters, newspaper articles, agendas, memoranda and administrative documents. The only purpose of using multiple documents is to ensure that the information is corroborated from several sources.
However, to make a case study more valid, a good researcher uses other methods of data collection. For instance, he may examine archival records, use direct observation, conduct interviews and examine physical artifacts. He consciously uses multiple sources of information to establish the validity of his research.How does triangulation improve the research design? Different methods of research have different strong points and each of them complement others leading to a strong research design.
Moreover, there are some deficiencies and weaknesses in every research method. When one uses triangulation, these deficiencies are reduced to the minimum. The result is a robust design that gives results with high validity. Consider a design in which qualitative methods have been combined with quantitative methods.
The qualitative methods provide an immediate and direct response from the respondents; on the other hand the quantitative methods provide an objective assessment of the situation and remove bias from the study. What triangulation does is to combine three or more views, methods or approaches to research for improving the accuracy of the research. In addition, triangulation produces an analysis of greater scope and accuracy. Using different approaches helps us to make deeper and repeated analysis of data so that we get a deeper understanding of the situation and resolve contradictions.
Analysis of competing hypothesis gives the researcher the opportunity to examine a range of interpretations and selecting the one he feels is correct (Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, 1999,).. This provides scope for analyzing difficult intelligence problems and weighs alternate conclusions explain how the researcher reached the conclusion. In practice how is this done? First, all possible hypothesis are considered.
Second, all the related evidence that is required to support each hypothesis. Third, each piece of available evidence is marshaled against the hypothesis. Fourth, those pieces of evidence that do not have diagnostic value are eliminated. Fifth, the researcher tries to eliminate hypotheses by comparing the likelihood of each hypothesis.
If evidence supporting the hypothesis has been derived from different sources, it would not get eliminated and so analysis of competing hypothesis supports triangulation. Sixth, the researcher analyses to see how the conclusion is dependent on a few critical pieces of evidence. He tries to find out how the conclusions would change if the evidence were incorrect. We can observe that if triangulation were used it would provide strong support to the conclusions.
Seventh, the researcher reports his conclusion and states the hypothesis that had been considered and their relative likelihood. Triangulation or the use of multiple methods can make the conclusions reached through competing hypothesis analysis more acceptable. This is why the multi-method research design is supported by ACH.To sum, triangulation is required to improve the internal validity of research.
It involves uses of three or more methods for data collection. The analysis of competing hypothesis supports triangulation. References:Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, 1999, Analysis of Competing Hypothesis, Online. Available from Internet, https://cia.
gov/csi/books/19104/art11.html accessed January 13, 2007Richards, L 2006, Qualitative Research Design, Online. Available from Internet, www.sagepub.com/upm-data/13172_Chapter4.pdf accessed January 13, 2007.
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