From Paradigm Wars to Peaceful Coexistence? A Sociological Perspective on the Qualitative-Quantitative-Divide and Future Directions for Mixed Methods Methodology

  • Felix Knappertsbusch Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung
Keywords: mixed methods, multimethod research, methodological pluralism, reflexivity, sociology of science, science studies


Social research today is marked by a contradictory constellation: Even though calls for methodological pluralism are prevalent and the principles of method integration are widely accepted, researchers still largely reproduce the traditional qualitative-quantitative-divide in their methodological boundary making. Actual applications of mixed and multimethod research remain a niche phenomenon. I argue that the reasons for this persistence of methodological schisms are, on the one hand, to be found in the way that pluralistic norms have successfully been integrated into the rhetoric with which proponents of qualitative and quantitative research traditions distinguish their approaches against each other. On the other hand, they also lie in the current mixed-methods-discourse and the related focus on textbook methodology and paradigmatic group identity. To strengthen the impact of mixed methods as a meta-reflexive critique of methodological schisms, methodologists should incorporate empirical studies of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed research practice into their work, and shift their focus more towards the social and cultural factors influencing methodological divisions. I outline what I consider to be core elements of such a post-methodological approach to mixed and multimethod methodology.


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Author Biography

Felix Knappertsbusch, Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung

Felix KNAPPERTSBUSCH is a program manager at Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung [Federal Agency for Civic Education, Project Group Quality Assurance]. He has worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Helmut-Schmidt-University Hamburg and Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, specializing in social research methods and methodology, especially mixed methods approaches, as well as political sociology, specifically research on prejudice and discrimination, and critical theory.


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How to Cite
Knappertsbusch, F. (2023). From Paradigm Wars to Peaceful Coexistence? A Sociological Perspective on the Qualitative-Quantitative-Divide and Future Directions for Mixed Methods Methodology. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 24(1).
Methodological, Philosophical and Sociology of Science Perspectives