Types of Mixed Method Design

In a previous post, we looked at mix methods and some examples of this design. Mixed methods are focused on combining quantitative and qualitative methods to study a research problem. In this post, we will look at several additional mixed method designs. Specifically, we will look at the follow designs

  • Embedded design
  • Transformative design
  • Multi-phase design

Embedded Design

Embedded design is the simultaneous collection of quantitative and qualitative data with one form of data by supportive to the other. The supportive data augments the conclusions of the main data collection.

The benefits of this design is that allows for one method to lead the analysis with the secondary method provides additional information. For example, quantitative measures are excellent at recording the results of an experiment. Qualitative measures would be useful in determining how participants perceived their experience in the experiment.

A downside to this approach making sure the secondary method is truly supporting the overall research. Quantitative and qualitative methods natural answer different research questions. Therefore, the research questions of a study must be worded in a way that allows for cooperation between qualitative and quantitative methods.

Transformative Design

The transformative design is more of a philosophy than a mixed method design. This design can employ any other mixed method design. The main difference that transformative designs focus on helping a marginalized population with the goal of bringing about change.

For example, a researcher might do a study Asian students facing discrimination in a predominately African American high school. The goal of the study would be to document the experiences of Asian students in order to provide administrators with information on the extent of this problem.

Such a focus on the oppressed is drawn heavily from Critical Theory which exposes how oppression takes place through education. The emphasis on change is derived from Dewy and progressivism.

Multiphase Design

Multiphase design is actually the use of several designs over several studies. This is a massive and supremely complex process. You would need to tie together several different mixed method studies under one general research problem. From this, you can see that this is not a commonly used design.

For example, you may decide to continue doing research into Asian student discrimination at African American high schools. The first study might employ an explanatory design. The second study might employ and exploratory design. The last study might be a transformative design.

After completing all this work, you would need to be able to articulate the experiences with discrimination of the Asian students. This is not an easy task by any means. As such, if and when this design is used, it often requires the teamwork of several researchers.


Mixed method designs require a different way of thinking when it comes to research. The uniqueness of this approach is the combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. This mixing of methods has advantages and disadvantage. The primary point to remember is that the most appropriate design depends on the circumstances of the study.

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