Mixed Methods and Ontological Commitments

ProtoSociology 22:186-206 (2006)
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Abstract

This article argues that the emerging field of Mixed Methods faces a series of challenges which must be addressed before the area can fulfill its potential. Foremost among these is the lack of attention given to ontological concerns. Specifically, Mixed Methods must examine what ontological commitments are made as the result of employing the range of typologies now discovered. It is argued that Mixed Methods presently lacks a clear conception of how its paradigm is significantly different from non-mixed methodological approaches. It is suggested that Mixed Methods adopt a “weak” minimal realist ontological stance that is rooted in a position called “measured realism.” It is also argued that such a position is required since the present reliance on pragmatism does not sufficiently address ontological concerns. Suggestions are made, by way of an empirical research example, as to plausible ways to handle the issue of ontological commitment.

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Steve Miller
University of Maine

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