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Methods That Matter

Integrating Mixed Methods for More Effective Social Science Research

Methods That Matter

Integrating Mixed Methods for More Effective Social Science Research

To do research that really makes a difference—the authors of this book argue—social scientists need questions and methods that reflect the complexity of the world. Bringing together a consortium of voices across a variety of fields, Methods that Matter offers compelling and successful examples of mixed methods research that do just that. In case after case, the researchers here break out of the traditional methodological silos that have long separated social science disciplines in order to better describe the intricacies of our personal and social worlds.
Historically, the largest division between social science methods has been that between quantitative and qualitative measures. For people trained in psychology or sociology, the bias has been toward the former, using surveys and experiments that yield readily comparable numerical results. For people trained in anthropology, it has been toward the latter, using ethnographic observations and interviews that offer richer nuances of meaning but are difficult to compare across societies. Discussing their own endeavors to combine the quantitative with the qualitative, the authors invite readers into a conversation about the best designs and practices of mixed methodologies to stimulate creative ideas and find new pathways of insight. The result is an engaging exploration of a promising new approach to the social sciences. 

456 pages | 8 halftones, 15 figures, 10 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2016

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Education: Curriculum and Methodology

Psychology: Developmental Psychology, Psychometrics and Methodology

Sociology: Methodology, Statistics, and Mathematical Sociology


“Conducting research that improves people’s lives requires researchers to get proximate to the challenges we seek to understand. Methods That Matter will help generations of scholars bridge quantitative and qualitative modes of inquiry in order to do just that, improving our understanding of social problems and their solutions. I look forward to using it in my classes.”

Sara Goldrick-Rab, author of Paying the Price

“An inspirational invitation to break through silos—Methods That Matter is a tour de force. It showcases tangible and aspirational exemplars for both neophyte and experienced researchers. A wonderful addition to the field!”

Carola Suárez-Orozco, Graduate School of Education and Information, University of California, Los Angeles

“The social sciences desperately need to get out of their disciplinary silos and talk to each other. Mixed methods research not only enables those conversations but improves the quality of the research. This marvelous book is rich with sensible guidance and examples of how to do it. It is great both for teaching and for cover-to-cover reading and reflection.”

T. M. Luhrmann, Department of Anthropology, Stanford University

Table of Contents

Preface: Applying Methods That Matter

Part One Methods and Theory for More Holistic Human Sciences

1 Repairing the Fractured Social Sciences: An Introduction from a Historical Point of View
Robert A. LeVine

2 Ecocultural Theory: Foundations and Applications
Carol M. Worthman

Part Two Discovering Mixed Methods

3 Ethnography in Need of Numbers: Mixing Methods to Build Partnerships and Understand Tigers
M. Cameron Hay

4 Crunching Numbers, Listening to Voices, and Looking at the Brain to Understand Family Relationships among Immigrant Families
Andrew J. Fuligni

5 “It Depends”: The First Law of Education Research and Development
Ronald Gallimore

Part Three Mixed Methods to Explore Cultural Variability

6 The Soft Side of Hard Data in the Study of Cultural Values
Richard A. Shweder

7 Images of Infancy: The Interplay of Biological Predispositions and Cultural Philosophies as an Arena for Mixed Methods Research
Heidi Keller

8 Beyond the Randomized Control Trial: Mixed Methods That Matter for Children’s Healthy Development in Cultural Context
Sara Harkness and Charles M. Super

9 Methods to Inform Public Problems: Toward an Ecocultural Framing of Poverty
by Edward D. Lowe

Part Four Mixed Methods and Collaborative Research

10 Collaborative Research on Emergent Literacy: Capturing Complex Mixed Methods Data and Tools for Their Integration and Analysis
Eli Lieber

11 Lessons Learned from Parents of Adults with Autism in India
Tamara C. Daley

12 What Makes for the Best Clinical Care? Using Trigger Films to Explore Better Integration of Guidelines and Experience
M. Cameron Hay, Thomas S. Weisner, and Saskia K. Subramanian

Part Five Mixed Methods and the Insights of Longitudinal Research

13 How Siblings Matter in Zinacantec Maya Child Development
Ashley E. Maynard

14 Why Mixed Methods Matter in Understanding Neighborhood Context and Child Maltreatment: Anthropological Approaches and Mixed Methods
Jill E. Korbin

15 Multiple Marginality—A Comparative Framework for Understanding Gangs: Theory and Method
James Diego Vigil

16 “I Thought Delay Meant She Would Catch Up”: Using Mixed Methods to Study Children with Early Developmental Delays and Their Families
Lucinda P. Bernheimer, Ronald Gallimore, and Barbara K. Keogh

Part Six Mixed Methods for Intervention and Policy-Driven Research

17 Mixed Methods in the Science of Understanding Antipoverty Policies for Families with Children: Four Case Studies
Aletha C. Huston, Greg J. Duncan, and Hirokazu Yoshikawa

18 Styles of Mothering, Methods of Engagement: Bridging Anthropology, Psychology, and Education to Inform Policy
Carolyn Pope Edwards

19 Intervention Research with Clients of Transgender Sex Workers: Finding Methods That Work with a Virtual Community
Brian L. Wilcox

Part Seven Why Mixed Methods?

20 Findings That Matter: A Commentary
Thomas S. Weisner


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