Mixed Methods Research in Library Studies:

In the dynamic landscape of research methodologies, mixed methods research has emerged as a powerful tool for gaining comprehensive insights into complex phenomena. This approach seamlessly blends quantitative and qualitative data, aiming to provide a holistic understanding of research problems or questions. One field where mixed methods research has proven particularly valuable is library studies. Libraries serve diverse communities with multifaceted needs, making the integration of both data types essential for a nuanced comprehension of the challenges and opportunities libraries face. In this article, we delve into the intricacies of mixed methods research in library studies, exploring its definition, advantages, challenges, design considerations, supporting tools, and evaluation criteria.

Defining Mixed Methods Research:

Mixed methods research involves the integration of both quantitative and qualitative data within a single study or a series of studies. The rationale behind this approach is to leverage the strengths of each data type, thereby providing a more comprehensive understanding of the research problem. In library studies, this might mean combining quantitative data to measure the usage and impact of a library service with qualitative data to delve into the users’ experiences and satisfaction with the service.

Advantages of Mixed Methods Research in Library Studies:

Mixed methods research in library studies offers a multitude of advantages that contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of complex phenomena within library settings. By seamlessly integrating both quantitative and qualitative data, researchers can leverage the strengths of each method, leading to enriched findings and more robust conclusions. Here, we explore the advantages of mixed methods research in library studies:

1. Enhanced Validity through Data Triangulation: One of the primary advantages of mixed methods research is the potential for data triangulation. By collecting and analyzing both quantitative and qualitative data, researchers can cross-verify findings from different sources. This triangulation strengthens the validity of the study, providing a more solid foundation for conclusions. In library studies, this is particularly valuable when investigating complex issues such as user satisfaction or the impact of library services.

2. Deeper Understanding of Complexity: Libraries are dynamic environments with diverse user groups and evolving services. Mixed methods research recognizes and embraces this complexity by exploring both quantitative patterns and qualitative nuances. Quantitative data might reveal usage statistics, while qualitative data can unveil the underlying motivations, attitudes, and experiences of library users. This dual approach enables researchers to gain a deeper understanding of the multifaceted nature of library-related phenomena.

3. Flexibility to Address Gaps in Literature: Mixed methods research is inherently flexible, allowing researchers to adapt to gaps in existing literature or data. In library studies, where the landscape is continually evolving, this flexibility is invaluable. Researchers can use mixed methods to explore emerging issues or respond to changing research questions. This adaptability ensures that studies remain relevant and contribute meaningfully to the field by addressing gaps and pushing the boundaries of existing knowledge.

4. Increased Relevance for Stakeholders: Libraries serve diverse communities, including students, faculty, researchers, and the general public. Mixed methods research generates findings that are relevant to a broad spectrum of stakeholders. By presenting multiple forms of evidence and interpretation, researchers cater to the varied needs and interests of different groups. This increased relevance enhances the utility of research for practitioners, policymakers, and anyone involved in shaping library services.

5. Holistic Examination of Human Behavior and Context: Libraries are not just physical spaces; they are also social and cultural entities. Mixed methods research acknowledges the need to understand human behavior and context comprehensively. While quantitative data might capture trends and patterns, qualitative data delves into the social and cultural aspects that influence library usage. This holistic examination ensures that research findings are grounded in a rich understanding of the diverse contexts in which libraries operate.

6. Adaptability to Changing Research Questions: Library research often involves iterative processes, with research questions evolving as the study progresses. Mixed methods research accommodates this inherent adaptability. Researchers can adjust the balance between quantitative and qualitative components based on emerging insights or refined research questions. This flexibility allows for a more dynamic and responsive approach to the evolving nature of library-related inquiries.

7. Improved Practical Implications: Mixed methods research enhances the practical implications of findings. The combination of quantitative data, providing statistical evidence, and qualitative data, offering in-depth insights, equips researchers to offer practical recommendations. This is particularly beneficial for library practitioners and decision-makers, as they receive not only statistical trends but also rich narratives that can inform strategic decisions and improve the overall quality of library services.

8. Comprehensive Exploration of Variables: Library studies often involve examining numerous variables, ranging from user demographics to the effectiveness of various services. Mixed methods research allows for a comprehensive exploration of these variables. Quantitative data can help identify patterns and relationships between variables, while qualitative data provides the context and explanations behind these patterns. This holistic approach ensures a more thorough investigation of the multitude of factors that influence library-related phenomena.

9. Richer Insights into User Experience: Understanding the user experience is crucial for improving library services. While quantitative data may reveal statistical trends in service usage, qualitative data offers richer insights into users’ perceptions, emotions, and motivations. Mixed methods research, therefore, enables researchers to go beyond mere usage statistics and delve into the subjective aspects of the user experience, ultimately contributing to the creation of more user-centric and effective library services.

10. Sequential or Simultaneous Exploration: Mixed methods research provides the flexibility to explore quantitative and qualitative aspects sequentially or simultaneously. Researchers can start with one method and use its findings to inform the other, or they can collect and analyze both types of data concurrently. This adaptability allows for a more efficient and nuanced investigation, particularly in library studies where time constraints or the evolving nature of research questions may necessitate a flexible research design.

11. Identification of Unanticipated Patterns: Libraries, as hubs of information and community engagement, can yield unexpected and unanticipated patterns in user behavior or service impact. Mixed methods research allows researchers to identify these unforeseen patterns by combining the structured analysis of quantitative data with the open-ended exploration of qualitative research. This capacity to uncover unexpected insights adds depth and richness to the study, enriching the overall understanding of library-related phenomena.

12. Improved Theory Building: Mixed methods research contributes to theory building in library studies. While quantitative data can test existing theories and models, qualitative data can help develop new theories or refine existing ones. The combination of both types of data facilitates a more nuanced and robust theoretical framework, advancing the theoretical foundations of library and information science.

13. Increased Research Credibility: The integration of quantitative and qualitative data in mixed methods research enhances the credibility of the study. By triangulating findings and presenting a more complete picture of the research problem, researchers build a stronger case for the validity and reliability of their results. This increased credibility not only benefits the individual study but also contributes to the overall trustworthiness of research within the library studies domain.

14. Facilitation of Comparative Analysis: Mixed methods research enables researchers to conduct comparative analyses that go beyond the capabilities of either data type alone. For instance, researchers can compare the effectiveness of different library interventions by quantitatively measuring outcomes and qualitatively exploring user perspectives. This comparative analysis adds depth to research findings, allowing for a more nuanced understanding of the relative strengths and weaknesses of different library approaches.

15. Alignment with Real-World Library Practices: Libraries are multifaceted institutions with a diverse array of functions and services. Mixed methods research aligns with the complexity of real-world library practices by offering a holistic approach that mirrors the multifaceted nature of library environments. This alignment ensures that research outcomes are not oversimplified and remain relevant and applicable to the intricate challenges faced by libraries in practice.

Challenges of Mixed Methods Research in Library Studies:

While mixed methods research in library studies offers numerous advantages, it also comes with its set of challenges that researchers must navigate. These challenges, ranging from logistical and resource-related hurdles to methodological and ethical considerations, require careful attention. Understanding and addressing these challenges is crucial for ensuring the success and integrity of mixed methods research in the context of library studies. Here is an exploration of the challenges:

1. Resource Intensiveness: One of the primary challenges of mixed methods research in library studies is the demand for additional resources. Collecting both quantitative and qualitative data requires a significant investment of time, personnel, and financial resources. Library researchers often face constraints in terms of budgets and staffing, making it challenging to execute a comprehensive mixed methods study. This resource intensiveness can act as a deterrent for researchers, especially in smaller institutions or underfunded projects.

2. Complex Data Management: Integrating two types of data—quantitative and qualitative—adds a layer of complexity to data management. Researchers must employ appropriate tools and strategies for collecting, storing, and analyzing both types of data. This complexity increases the likelihood of errors and requires researchers to be adept at handling diverse datasets. The need for specialized software and expertise in both quantitative and qualitative analysis further complicates data management.

3. Coordination and Alignment: Achieving seamless coordination and alignment between quantitative and qualitative components is a significant challenge in mixed methods research. Researchers must ensure that the design, data collection instruments, and analytical approaches align coherently. This coordination is essential to maintain the integrity of the study and to derive meaningful insights from the integration of both types of data.

4. Ethical Considerations: Ethical challenges are inherent in any research, but mixed methods studies in library research present unique ethical considerations. For example, obtaining informed consent can be more complex when dealing with both survey responses (quantitative) and interviews or observations (qualitative). Ensuring participant confidentiality and privacy becomes even more critical when dealing with diverse data sources.

5. Reporting and Dissemination Challenges: Communicating the results of mixed methods research can be challenging, especially when research journals or academic venues favor one type of data over the other. Researchers may encounter resistance from traditional disciplines or face difficulties in finding appropriate outlets that appreciate and value the integration of both quantitative and qualitative findings. Bridging the gap between disciplinary expectations and the inherent diversity of mixed methods research outputs can be a formidable task.

6. Reviewer and Peer Skepticism: The interdisciplinary nature of mixed methods research may lead to skepticism or resistance from reviewers and peers. Traditional disciplinary boundaries often influence the evaluation of research, and some may question the validity or value of integrating quantitative and qualitative approaches. Researchers conducting mixed methods studies in library research must navigate this skepticism, advocating for the unique contributions and strengths of their chosen methodology.

7. Skill Requirements: Mixed methods research demands a diverse skill set that includes proficiency in both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Researchers need to be adept at statistical analysis, survey design, and qualitative data analysis techniques. This skill requirement may pose challenges for individuals who are more specialized in one approach than the other, necessitating interdisciplinary collaboration or additional training.

8. Longer Project Timelines: Conducting mixed methods research typically extends the timeline of a project. The need to collect, analyze, and integrate both types of data adds complexity and duration to the research process. Longer project timelines may pose challenges, especially in situations where quick responses or timely results are required.

9. Incorporating Diversity of Perspectives: Libraries cater to diverse user groups, each with unique needs and expectations. Ensuring that the mixed methods approach captures this diversity can be challenging. Researchers must design their studies to be inclusive of various perspectives, taking into account differences in demographics, educational backgrounds, and usage patterns among library patrons.

10. Ensuring Coherence in Integration: Integrating quantitative and qualitative data in a way that maintains coherence and enhances the overall understanding of the research problem is a constant challenge. Researchers must carefully plan and articulate how the two types of data will complement each other and contribute to a holistic interpretation. Failure to achieve coherence can result in fragmented or inconclusive findings.

Designing a Mixed Methods Project for Library Research:

Designing a mixed methods project for library research is a meticulous process that involves several key steps and considerations. A well-structured design ensures that the integration of quantitative and qualitative components aligns with the research problem or question, providing a holistic understanding of library-related phenomena. Here, we outline the steps involved in designing a mixed methods project for library research:

  1. Identify the Research Problem or Question:
  • Clearly Define the Research Problem: Begin by precisely articulating the research problem or question you aim to address in your library study. This clarity is foundational to the entire research design process.
  • Determine the Need for Both Data Types: Assess whether both quantitative and qualitative data are essential to comprehensively address the research problem. Consider the nature of the library-related phenomenon under investigation and how each data type contributes uniquely to understanding it.
  1. Choose a Mixed Methods Design:
  • Familiarize Yourself with Mixed Methods Designs: Understand the various mixed methods designs available. Common designs include explanatory sequential, exploratory sequential, and convergent designs. Choose a design that aligns with your research problem, question, and the nature of the data.
  • Consider the Timing and Sequence: Decide whether the quantitative and qualitative components will be implemented sequentially or simultaneously. Sequential designs involve a clear order of phases, while convergent designs implement both components concurrently.
  1. Select Data Collection Methods:
  • Quantitative Data Collection: Choose appropriate methods for collecting quantitative data based on your research problem. This might involve surveys, usage statistics, or any other method suitable for obtaining numerical data.
  • Qualitative Data Collection: Similarly, select qualitative data collection methods that align with the research question. This could involve interviews, focus groups, observations, or content analysis, depending on the nature of the library study.
  1. Choose Data Analysis Methods:
  • Quantitative Data Analysis: Determine the statistical methods you will use to analyze quantitative data. This could involve descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, or other relevant techniques based on the nature of the data.
  • Qualitative Data Analysis: Choose appropriate qualitative data analysis methods. This might include thematic analysis, grounded theory, or other qualitative analysis techniques suitable for interpreting the qualitative data collected.
  1. Plan Integration and Interpretation:
  • Decide on Integration Level: Determine whether the integration of quantitative and qualitative data will occur at the data level (before analysis) or at the interpretation level (after separate analyses). Each approach has its own implications for the overall study design.
  • Develop an Integration Plan: Outline how the quantitative and qualitative findings will be combined and interpreted to address the research problem. This could involve creating joint displays, matrices, or narratives that highlight the relationships between the two data types.
  1. Address Ethical and Practical Implications:
  • Obtain Informed Consent: Clearly define your approach to obtaining informed consent from participants. This is crucial for both quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews or observations.
  • Protect Data Privacy and Confidentiality: Establish protocols for protecting the privacy and confidentiality of participants, particularly in qualitative data where individuals might be more easily identifiable.
  • Ensure Data Quality: Implement measures to ensure the quality of both quantitative and qualitative data. This might involve pre-testing surveys, inter-rater reliability checks for qualitative coding, and other quality assurance procedures.
  • Address Potential Biases or Conflicts: Anticipate and address any potential biases or conflicts that may arise during data collection and analysis. This could involve reflexivity, where researchers acknowledge their own perspectives and potential biases.
  1. Plan for Reporting and Dissemination:
  • Consider the Audience: Identify the target audience for your research findings. This could include library practitioners, policymakers, or the broader academic community.
  • Choose Appropriate Outlets: Select journals, conferences, or other dissemination venues that are receptive to mixed methods research. Ensure that your chosen outlets value both quantitative and qualitative contributions.
  • Address Potential Skepticism: Anticipate potential skepticism from reviewers or peers regarding the mixed methods approach. Provide a clear rationale for your design choices and demonstrate the added value of integrating both data types.

By meticulously following these steps, researchers can design a mixed methods project for library research that not only effectively addresses the research problem but also contributes to the advancement of knowledge within the field. A well-designed mixed methods study in library research has the potential to yield nuanced insights, improve the validity of findings, and contribute to the ongoing enhancement of library services and practices.

Tools for Facilitating Mixed Methods Research:

Facilitating mixed methods research in library studies requires a suite of tools and resources to manage, analyze, and interpret both quantitative and qualitative data. These tools play a pivotal role in enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the research process. Here, we dive into the various tools that can aid researchers in conducting mixed methods research in library studies:

  1. Data Collection Tools:

a) Surveys and Questionnaires:

Tool Examples: Qualtrics, SurveyMonkey, Google Forms

Online survey platforms facilitate the creation and distribution of quantitative surveys, allowing researchers to collect numerical data efficiently. These tools often provide features for designing structured questionnaires, implementing skip logic, and analyzing survey responses.

b) Interview and Focus Group Tools:

Tool Examples: Zoom, Microsoft Teams, NVivo

Video conferencing tools, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, are invaluable for conducting qualitative interviews and focus groups. NVivo, on the other hand, assists in the organization and analysis of qualitative data gathered from interviews or focus group discussions.

  1. Data Analysis Software:

a) Quantitative Data Analysis:

Tool Examples: SPSS, Excel, R

Statistical tools like SPSS and Excel are widely used for quantitative data analysis. Researchers can employ these tools to perform descriptive and inferential statistical analyses, making sense of numerical data collected through surveys or other quantitative methods.

b) Qualitative Data Analysis:

Tool Examples: NVivo, ATLAS.ti, MAXQDA

Qualitative data analysis software, such as NVivo, ATLAS.ti, or MAXQDA, assists researchers in coding, organizing, and interpreting qualitative data. These tools facilitate the identification of themes, patterns, and relationships within textual or visual data.

  1. Mixed Methods Integration Tools:

a) Joint Displays:

Tool Examples: Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint

Joint displays involve visually integrating quantitative and qualitative data. Tools like Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint can be used to create tables, charts, or graphs that effectively showcase the convergence or divergence of findings from both data types.

b) Integration Frameworks:

Tool Examples: Creswell and Plano Clark’s Framework, Tashakkori and Teddlie’s Integration Typology

The use of integration frameworks guides researchers in combining quantitative and qualitative data at both the data collection and interpretation stages. These frameworks provide systematic approaches to ensure coherence in mixed methods research.

  1. Literature Review and Citation Management:

a) Reference Management:

Tool Examples: EndNote, Zotero, Mendeley

Effective literature review is integral to mixed methods research. Reference management tools such as EndNote, Zotero, and Mendeley help researchers organize, cite, and manage bibliographic information, streamlining the literature review process.

  1. Training and Educational Resources:

a) Online Courses:

Tool Examples: Coursera, edX

Platforms like Coursera and edX offer courses on mixed methods research. These courses provide researchers with the necessary skills and knowledge to design and conduct mixed methods studies effectively.

b) Workshops and Certificates:

Tool Examples: Mixed Methods Research Training Program for the Health Sciences, Mixed Methods Research Certificate

Specialized workshops and certificate programs, such as the Mixed Methods Research Training Program for the Health Sciences or a Mixed Methods Research Certificate, offer hands-on training and insights into the application of mixed methods in research.

  1. Guides and Handbooks:

a) Literature and Guides:

Tool Examples: SAGE Handbook of Mixed Methods in Social & Behavioral Research

Comprehensive guides and handbooks, such as the SAGE Handbook of Mixed Methods in Social & Behavioral Research, offer practical advice, methodological insights, and examples of mixed methods research, providing researchers with valuable references during the research process.

  1. Collaboration and Communication Tools:

a) Project Management:

Tool Examples: Trello, Asana, Slack

Collaborative project management tools like Trello, Asana, or Slack aid in coordinating tasks and communication among research team members, ensuring seamless collaboration throughout the mixed methods research project.

b) Version Control:

Tool Examples: GitHub, Bitbucket

Version control platforms like GitHub and Bitbucket are crucial for managing changes to research documents and data, ensuring transparency and accountability, especially in collaborative research settings.

  1. Data Visualization Tools:

a) Visualization Software:

Tool Examples: Tableau, Microsoft Power BI

Data visualization tools like Tableau or Microsoft Power BI allow researchers to create visually compelling representations of quantitative data, aiding in the interpretation and communication of findings to diverse audiences.

  1. Ethical Review and Compliance Tools:

a) Ethics Review Platforms:

Tool Examples: IRBManager, Cayuse

Institutional Review Board (IRB) management platforms, such as IRBManager or Cayuse, streamline the ethical review process, helping researchers ensure that their mixed methods projects adhere to ethical standards and regulations.

  1. Document and Report Writing:

a) Word Processing Software:

Tool Examples: Microsoft Word, LaTeX

Standard word processing software like Microsoft Word or LaTeX is essential for writing up research findings, integrating quantitative and qualitative insights into a coherent and well-structured manuscript.

By leveraging above tools, researchers in library studies can enhance the efficiency and rigor of their mixed methods projects. From data collection to analysis, integration, and dissemination, the use of appropriate tools contributes to the success of mixed methods research, enabling researchers to uncover nuanced insights and advance knowledge in the dynamic field of library studies.

Evaluating a Mixed Methods Project in Library Studies:

Evaluating a mixed methods project in library studies involves a thorough examination of various components to ensure the study’s quality, validity, and relevance. While there isn’t a universal standard for judging mixed methods research, several principles and questions can guide the evaluation process. Here is a breakdown of the key aspects to consider when evaluating a mixed methods project in library studies:

  1. Clarity:
  • Clear Articulation of Research Problem and Purpose: Assess whether the research problem or question is clearly stated and aligns with the purpose of the study. A well-articulated problem provides a foundation for the mixed methods design.
  • Transparency in Mixed Methods Design: Evaluate the transparency of the mixed methods design. Ensure that the rationale for choosing a specific design is clearly explained and that the integration of quantitative and qualitative components is justified.
  • Coherence Between Research Problem and Design: Examine the coherence between the research problem and the chosen mixed methods design. Confirm that the design is appropriate for addressing the research problem and that both data types contribute meaningfully to the study.
  1. Rigor:
  • Appropriate Data Collection Methods: Assess whether the chosen data collection methods are appropriate for both quantitative and qualitative components. Ensure that the methods align with the research questions and provide reliable and valid data.
  • Rigorous Data Analysis: Examine the rigor of the data analysis procedures for both quantitative and qualitative data. Ensure that statistical analyses are appropriate for quantitative data, and qualitative analyses follow established standards for reliability and validity.
  • Integration of Findings: Evaluate how well the quantitative and qualitative findings are integrated. Ensure that the integration adds value to the study by providing a more comprehensive understanding of the research problem.
  1. Relevance:
  • Usefulness of Findings: Assess the practical usefulness of the study’s findings. Determine if the mixed methods approach enhances the relevance of the research for library practitioners, policymakers, or other stakeholders.
  • Contribution to the Field: Evaluate the study’s contribution to the broader field of library studies. Assess whether the mixed methods project addresses gaps in the literature, advances theoretical frameworks, or provides practical insights for improving library services.
  1. Reflexivity:
  • Acknowledgment of Assumptions and Limitations: Examine whether the researchers acknowledge and reflect on their assumptions and limitations. This includes considering potential biases, acknowledging the impact of the researchers’ perspectives, and addressing any limitations in the study’s design or execution.
  • Ethical and Practical Considerations: Evaluate how well the study addresses ethical and practical considerations. This includes ensuring that informed consent is obtained, data privacy is protected, and potential biases or conflicts are transparently addressed.
  1. Communication and Dissemination:
  • Clear Reporting of Results: Assess the clarity and transparency of the results reporting. Ensure that both quantitative and qualitative findings are presented coherently, with appropriate visual aids or joint displays to facilitate understanding.
  • Appropriateness of Reporting Venues: Consider whether the chosen journals, conferences, or other dissemination venues are appropriate for mixed methods research. Some venues may be more receptive to this approach, and the researchers should justify their choice based on the nature of the study.
  1. Addressing Potential Skepticism:
  • Rationale for Mixed Methods Approach: Evaluate the study’s rationale for choosing a mixed methods approach. Researchers should provide a clear justification for integrating quantitative and qualitative data and demonstrate how this approach adds value to the research.
  • Responsiveness to Critiques: Consider how well the researchers respond to potential skepticism or critiques. A robust mixed methods project acknowledges and addresses concerns raised by reviewers or peers regarding the validity or value of the chosen approach.

In conclusion, mixed methods research has established itself as a valuable approach for exploring complex research questions in library studies. Its ability to integrate quantitative and qualitative data provides a more nuanced understanding of the multifaceted challenges and opportunities within library settings. While challenges exist, careful planning and consideration of ethical and practical aspects can mitigate potential issues.

Researchers in library studies should embrace mixed methods research as a dynamic and flexible tool, recognizing its potential to enhance the validity, reliability, and relevance of their findings. By utilizing appropriate tools, engaging in relevant training programs, and adhering to robust design principles, library researchers can unlock a wealth of insights that contribute to the continuous improvement of library services and enrich the scholarly discourse in the field.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What is mixed methods research in library studies?

Mixed methods research in library studies is a research design that integrates both quantitative and qualitative data within a single study or across multiple studies. It aims to provide a more comprehensive understanding of library-related phenomena by leveraging the strengths of both data types.

Why use mixed methods research in library studies?

Mixed methods research is used in library studies to strengthen the validity and reliability of findings through data triangulation. It allows researchers to explore the complexity of library-related issues, address gaps in literature, and enhance the relevance of research for different stakeholders by providing multiple forms of evidence.

What challenges are associated with mixed methods research in library studies?

Challenges include the need for additional time, resources, and skills to collect, manage, and analyze both quantitative and qualitative data. Ethical considerations such as informed consent, data protection, confidentiality, and quality assurance also pose challenges. Additionally, reporting results in journals favoring one data type and skepticism from peers can be obstacles.

How can one design a mixed methods project in library research?

Designing a mixed methods project involves identifying the research problem, choosing an appropriate mixed methods design, selecting data collection and analysis methods, planning for integration and interpretation, and addressing ethical and practical implications. Flexibility is key to adapt to changing research questions or situations.

What tools can assist with mixed methods research in library studies?

Tools include software programs like SPSS and NVivo, online platforms such as Qualtrics and SurveyMonkey, literature and guides like the SAGE Handbook of Mixed Methods, and specialized courses or workshops like the Mixed Methods Research Training Program for the Health Sciences.

How can a mixed methods project in library studies be evaluated?

Evaluation involves assessing clarity in stating the research problem, rigor in data collection and analysis, relevance of findings, reflexivity in acknowledging assumptions and limitations, and effective communication and dissemination. Addressing potential skepticism and justifying the mixed methods approach are also crucial aspects of evaluation.

Can mixed methods research in library studies contribute to theory building?

Yes, mixed methods research can contribute to theory building by using quantitative data to test existing theories and qualitative data to develop new theories or refine existing ones. The combination of both data types facilitates a more nuanced and robust theoretical framework.

How should researchers address potential biases in mixed methods research in library studies?

Researchers should acknowledge potential biases and conflicts, practice reflexivity, and transparently address these issues in the research design. This includes considering the impact of researchers’ perspectives, obtaining informed consent, and ensuring ethical and practical considerations are taken into account throughout the study.


  1. Creswell, J. W., & Creswell, J. D. (2017). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Sage Publications.
  2. Johnson, R. B., & Onwuegbuzie, A. J. (2004). “Mixed methods research: A research paradigm whose time has come.” Educational researcher, 33(7), 14-26.
  3. Teddlie, C., & Tashakkori, A. (2009). Foundations of mixed methods research: Integrating quantitative and qualitative approaches in the social and behavioral sciences. Sage Publications.
  4. Creswell, J. W., & Plano Clark, V. L. (2018). Designing and conducting mixed methods research. Sage Publications.
  5. O’Cathain, A., Murphy, E., & Nicholl, J. (2007). “The quality of mixed methods studies in health services research.” Journal of health services research & policy, 12(2), 92-98.
  6. Tashakkori, A., & Teddlie, C. (Eds.). (2003). Handbook of mixed methods in social & behavioral research. Sage Publications.
  7. Morse, J. M., Niehaus, L., & Wolfe, R. R. (2006). “Mixed-method design: Principles and procedures.” Developing grounded theory: The second generation, 3(1), 145-161.
  8. Ivankova, N. V., & Creswell, J. W. (2009). “A sequential mixed model research design: Design, analytical and display issues.” International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches, 3(2), 140-152.
  9. Bazeley, P. (2003). “Computerized data analysis for mixed methods research.” In Handbook of mixed methods in social & behavioral research (pp. 385-422). Sage Publications.
  10. Mertens, D. M., & Hesse-Biber, S. (Eds.). (2012). Triangulation and mixed methods research: Provocative positions. Sage Publications.