Mixed Methods Longitudinal Research


  • Susanne Vogl Universität Stuttgart




mixed methods research, longitudinal research, research design, time, integration


Longitudinal research holds great promise for researching change and continuity. Qualitative and quantitative longitudinal research can be combined within a mixed methods framework, which enables gaining complementary insights that are more nuanced and more valid. However, longitudinal research generally entails more practical challenges than cross-sectional research. Further, combining qualitative and quantitative strategies in mixed methods longitudinal research (MMLR) multiplies these challenges. In this publication, I start by conceptualizing qualitative and quantitative longitudinal research and highlighting their respective strengths and challenges. I subsequently outline design options and implications of mixed methods longitudinal projects. Hereby, I distinguish traditional dimensions of mixed methods and longitudinal research designs, such as time and timing, priority, purpose, sampling, data collection, analysis and interpretation, and reporting. In MMLR these dimensions have an extended time dimension because these design decisions have to be made or revisited in each wave. With this contribution, I aim to advance conceptual thinking in an area of research that is certainly underdeveloped, but has great potential.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Susanne Vogl, Universität Stuttgart

Susanne VOGL is professor of sociology at the University of Stuttgart with a focus on research methods. Her research agenda is centered on improving existing methods in social sciences and further developing techniques and methods. Based on her aim to contribute to a more inclusive research practice, she develops integrative strategies for data collection and methods of analysis. Professor VOGL's substantive fields of research include the sociology of deviance, children and young people, family, and life course.


Abbott, Andrew D. (2016). Processual sociology. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Adam, Barbara (2013). Time and social theory. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Atkinson, Paul & Silverman, David (1997). Kundera's immortality: The interview society and the invention of the self. Qualitative Inquiry, 3(3), 304-325.

Bamattre, Richard; Schowengerdt, Bethany; Nikoi, Acacia & DeJaeghere, Joan (2019). Time matters: The potential and pitfalls of using mixed methods approaches in longitudinal program evaluation. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 22(4), 335-349.

Baur, Nina (2005). Verlaufsmusteranalyse: Methodologische Konsequenzen der Zeitlichkeit sozialen Handelns. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.

Baur, Nina (2008). Taking perspectivity seriously. A suggestion of a conceptual framework for linking theory and methods in longitudinal and comparative research. Historical Social Research / Historische Sozialforschung, 33(4), 191-213, https://doi.org/10.12759/hsr.33.2008.4.191-213 [Accessed: January 25, 2023].

Bazeley, Pat (2003). Teaching mixed methods. Qualitative Research Journal, 3 (Special Issue), 111-116.

Bazeley, Pat (2009). Editorial: Integrating data analyses in mixed methods research. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 3(3), 203-207, https://doi.org/10.1177/1558689809334443 [Accessed: August 3, 2022].

Bazeley, Pat (2012). Integrative analysis strategies for mixed data sources. American Behavioral Scientist, 56(6), 814-828.

Bazeley, Pat (2018). Integrating analysis in mixed methods research. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Belli, Robert F. (1998). The structure of autobiographical memory and the event history calendar: Potential improvements in the quality of retrospective reports in surveys. Memory, 6(4), 383-406.

Belli, Robert F.; Stafford, Frank P. & Alwin, Duane F. (Eds.) (2009). Calendar and time diary: Methods in life course research. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Bernardi, Laura (2021). Qualitative longitudinal research in family sociology. In Norbert F. Schneider & Michaela Kreyenfeld (Eds.), Research handbook on the sociology of the family (pp.107-124). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Bernardi, Laura & Mortelmans, Dimitri (Eds.) (2018). Lone parenthood in the life course. Cham: Springer Open, https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-319-63295-7 [Accessed: January 25, 2023].

Bidart, Claire; Longo, María E. & Mendez, Ariel (2013). Time and process: An operational framework for processual analysis. European Sociological Review, 29(4), 743-751.

Bijleveld, Catrien C.J.; van der Kamp, Leo J.T.; Mooijaart, Ab; van Kloot, Willem A.; van der Leeden, Rien & van der Burg, Eeke (1998). Longitudinal data analysis: Designs, models and methods. London: Sage.

Burzan, Nicole (2020). Continuities and discontinuities. A methodological reflection on sociological analyses of time in multigenerational family interviews. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 21(2), Art. 2, http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-21.2.3427 [Accessed: August 3, 2022].

Bustamante, Carolina (2019). TPACK and teachers of Spanish: Development of a theory-based joint display in a mixed methods research case study. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 13(2), 163-178.

Calman, Lynn; Brunton, Lisa & Molassiotis, Alex (2013). Developing longitudinal qualitative designs: Lessons learned and recommendations from health services research. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 13(14), https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2288-13-14 [Accessed: August 3, 2022].

Charmaz, Kathy (2014). Constructing grounded theory. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Christ, Thomas W. (2007). A recursive approach to mixed methods research in a longitudinal study of postsecondary education disability support services. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 1(3), 226-241.

Creamer, Elizabeth G. (2018). Enlarging the conceptualization of mixed method approaches to grounded theory with intervention research. American Behavioral Scientist, 62(7), 919-934.

Creamer, Elizabeth G. (2022). Advancing grounded theory with mixed methods. London: Routledge.

Creswell, John W. (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Creswell, John W. & Plano Clark, Vicki L. (2018 [2007]). Designing and conducting mixed methods research (3 ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Cuervo, Hernán & Cook, Julia (2020). Understanding young lives through longitudinal research design. In Johanna Wyn, Helen Cahill, Dan Woodman, Hernán Cuervo, Carmen Leccardi & Jenny Chester (Eds.), Youth and the new adulthood. generations of change (pp.13-30). Singapore: Springer.

Elliott, Jane; Holland, Janet & Thomson, Rachel (2008). Longitudinal and panel studies. In Pertti Alasuutari, Leonard Bickman & Julia Brannen (Eds.), The Sage handbook of social research methods (pp.228-248). London: Sage.

Elias, Norbert (1978). What is sociology?. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Flecker, Jörg: Wöhrer, Veronika & Rieder, Irene (Eds.) (2020). Wege in die Zukunft: Lebenssituation Jugendlicher am Ende der Neuen Mittelschule. Göttingen: V&R unipress.

Flecker, Jörg; Wöhrer, Veronika & Schels, Brigitte (Eds.) (2022). Junge Menschen gehen ihren Weg: Längsschnittanalysen über Jugendliche nach der Neuen Mittelschule. Göttingen: V&R unipress.

Greene, Jennifer C. (2007). Mixed methods in social inquiry. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Greene, Jennifer C.; Caracelli, Valerie J. & Graham, Wendy F. (1989). Toward a conceptual framework for mixed-method evaluation designs. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 11(3), 255-274.

Guetterman, Timothy C.; Creswell, John W. & Kuckartz, Udo (2015). Using joint displays and MAXQDA software to represent the results of mixed methods research. In Matthew T. McCrudden, Gregory Schraw & Chad Buckendahl (Eds.), Use of visual displays in research and testing. Coding, interpreting, and reporting data (pp.145-176). Charlotte, NC: IAP.

Guetterman, Timothy C.; Babchuk, Wayne A.; Howell Smith, Michelle C. & Stevens, Jared (2019). Contemporary approaches to mixed methods-grounded theory research: A field-based analysis. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 13(2), 179-195.

Henwood, Karen & Procter, Joanne (2003). The "good father": Reading men's accounts of paternal involvement during the transition to first-time fatherhood. The British Journal of Social Psychology / the British Psychological Society, 42(Pt 3), 337-355.

Hermanowicz, Joseph (2015). Longitudinal qualitative research. In Michael J. Shanahan, Jeylan T. Mortimer & Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson (Eds.), Handbook of the life course (pp.491-514). Cham: Springer.

Holder, Robyn L. (2018). Untangling the meanings of justice: A longitudinal mixed methods study. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 12(2), 204-220.

Holland, Janet (2011). Timescapes: Living a qualitative longitudinal study. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12(3), Art. 9, https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-12.3.1729 [Accessed: August 3, 2022].

Hult, Jen R.; Wrubel, Judith; Bränström, Richard; Acree, Michael & Moskowitz, Judith T. (2012). Disclosure and nondisclosure among people newly diagnosed with HIV: An analysis from a stress and coping perspective. AIDS Patient Care and STDs, 26(3), 181-190.

Kelle, U. (2001). Sociological explanations between micro and macro and the integration of qualitative and quantitative methods. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 2(1), Art. 5, https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-2.1.966 [Accessed: January 25, 2023].

Kogler, Raphaela, Vogl, Susanne, & Astleithner, Franz (2023). Transitions, choices and patterns in time: Young people's educational and occupational orientation. Journal of Education and Work, Online first.

Kogler, Raphaela, Vogl, Susanne, & Astleithner, Franz (2022). Plans, hopes, dreams and evolving agency: Case histories of young people navigating transitions. Journal of Youth Studies, https://doi.org/10.1080/13676261.2022.2156778 [Accessed: January 25, 2023].

Kraus, Wolfgang (2000). Making identity talk. On qualitative methods in a longitudinal study. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum Qualitative Social Research, 1(2), Art. 15, https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-1.2.1084 [Accessed: August 3, 2022].

Leech, Nancy L. & Onwuegbuzie, Anthony J. (2009). A typology of mixed methods research designs. Quality & Quantity, 43(2), 265-275. doi:10.1007/s11135-007-9105-3

Lewis, Jane (2007). Analysing qualitative longitudinal research in evaluations. Social Policy and Society, 6(4), 545-556.

Mayoh, Joanne & Onwuegbuzie, Anthony J. (2014). Toward a conceptualization of mixed methods phenomenological research. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 9(1), 91-107.

McLeod, Julie & Thomson, Rachel (2009). Researching social change: Qualitative approaches. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Miller, Tina (2005). Making sense of motherhood: A narrative approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Moran-Ellis, Jo; Alexander, Victoria D.; Cronin, Ann; Dickinson, Mary; Fielding, Jane; Sleney, Judith & Thomas, Hilary (2006). Triangulation and integration: Processes, claims and implications. Qualitative Research, 6(1), 45-59.

Neale, Bren (2019). What is qualitative longitudinal research?. London: Bloomsbury academic.

Neale, Bren (2021). The craft of qualitative longitudinal research. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Neale, Bren; Henwood, Karen & Holland, Janet (2012). Researching lives through time: An introduction to the Timescapes approach. Qualitative Research, 12(1), 4-15.

Neves, Barbara B.; Dias de Carvalho; Diana, Serra; Fernando, Torres; Anália & Fraga, Silvia (2019). Social capital in transition(s) to early adulthood: A longitudinal and mixed-methods approach. Journal of Adolescent Research, 34(1), 85-112.

Onwuegbuzie, Anthony J. & Combs, Julie P. (2010). Emergent data analysis techniques in mixed methods research: A synthesis. In Abbas Tashakkori & Charles Teddlie (Eds.), Sage handbook of mixed methods in social & behavioral research (pp.397-430). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Palmieri, Marco (2017). An innovative approach to pretest questionnaire. Sociological Methods & Research, 7, 108-132.

Pettigrew, Andrew M. (1995). Longitudinal field research on change: Theory and practice. In George Huber & Andrew van de Ven (Eds.), Longitudinal field research methods (pp.91-125). London: Sage.

Plano Clark, Vicki L.; Anderson, Nancy; Wertz, Jessica A.; Zhou, Yuchun; Schumacher, Karen & Miaskowski, Christine (2015). Conceptualizing longitudinal mixed methods designs. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 9(4), 297-319.

Reichertz, Jo (2019). Methodenpolizei oder Gütesicherung? Zwei Deutungsmuster im Kampf um die Vorherrschaft in der qualitativen Sozialforschung. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 20(1), Art. 3, https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-20.1.3205 [Accessed: August 3, 2022].

Saldaña, Johnny (2003). Longitudinal qualitative research: Analyzing change through time. Walnut Creek, CA: Altamira Press.

Sammons, Pamela; Davis, Susila; Day, Christopher & Gu, Qing (2014). Using mixed methods to investigate school improvement and the role of leadership. Journal of Educational Administration, 52(5), 565-589.

Schilling, Elisabeth & König, Alexandra (2020). Challenging Times – Methods and Methodological Appraoches to Qualitative Research on Time. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum Qualitative Social Research, 21(2), Art. 27, https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-21.2.3508 [Accessed: August 3, 2022].

Schoonenboom, Judith & Johnson, Robert B. (2017). How to construct a mixed methods research design. KZfSS Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, 69, 107-131, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11577-017-0454-1 [Accessed: August 3, 2022].

Schoonenboom, Judith; Johnson, Robert B. & Froehlich, Dominik E. (2018). Combining multiple purposes of mixing within a mixed methods research design. International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches, 10(1), 271-282.

Schreier, Margrit (2017). Kontexte qualitativer Sozialforschung: Arts-Based Research, Mixed Methods und Emergent Methods. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 18(2), Art. 6, https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-18.2.2815 [Accessed: August 3, 2022].

Shirani, Fiona & Henwood, Karen (2010). Continuity and change in a qualitative longitudinal study of fatherhood: Relevance without responsibility. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 14(1), 17-29.

Smith, Noel (2003). Cross-sectional profiling and longitudinal analysis: Research notes on analysis in the longitudinal qualitative study, "Negotiating transitions to citizenship". International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 6(3), 273-277.

Strauss, Anselm & Corbin, Juliet (1998). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Suárez-Orozco, Carola; Gaytán, Francisco X.; Bang, Hee J.; Pakes, Juliana; O'Connor, Erin & Rhodes, Jean (2010). Academic trajectories of newcomer immigrant youth. Developmental Psychology, 46(3), 602-618.

Teddlie, Charles & Yu, Fen (2007). Mixed methods sampling: A typology with examples. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 1(1), 77-100.

Thomson, Rachel (2007). The qualitative longitudinal case history: Practical, methodological and ethical reflections. Social Policy and Society, 6(4), 571-582.

Thomson, Rachel & Holland, Janet (2003). Hindsight, foresight and insight: The challenges of longitudinal qualitative research. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 6(3), 233-244.

Valls, Ona; Astleithner, Franz; Schels, Brigitte; Vogl, Susanne & Kogler, Raphaela (2022). Educational and occupational aspirations: A longitudinal study of Vienna youth. Social Inclusion, 10(2), 226-239, https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v10i2.5105 [Accessed: August 3, 2022].

van Ness, Peter H.; Fried, Terri R. & Gill, Thomas M. (2011). Mixed methods for the interpretation of longitudinal gerontologic data: Insights from philosophical hermeneutics. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 5(4), 293-308.

Vogl, Susanne (2022). Qualitative Panelbefragungen. In Nina Baur & Jörg Blasius (Eds.), Handbuch Methoden der empirischen Sozialforschung (pp.935-946). Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

Vogl, Susanne & Zartler, Ulrike (2021). Interviewing adolescents through time: Balancing continuity and flexibility in a qualitative longitudinal study. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, 12(1), 83-97.

Vogl, Susanne; Wöhrer, Veronika & Jesser, Andrea (2020). Das Forschungsdesign der ersten Welle des Projekts "Wege in die Zukunft". In Jörg Flecker, Veronika Wöhrer & Irene Rieder (Eds.), Wege in die Zukunft. Lebenssituation Jugendlicher am Ende der Neuen Mittelschule (pp.59-86). Göttingen: V&R unipress.

Vogl, Susanne; Zartler, Ulrike; Schmidt, Eva-Maria & Rieder, Irene (2018). Developing an analytical framework for multiple perspective, qualitative longitudinal interviews (MPQLI). International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 21(2), 177-190, https://doi.org/10.1080/13645579.2017.1345149 [Accessed: January 25, 2023].

Ward, Jennifer & Henderson, Zoë (2003). Some practical and ethical issues encountered while conducting tracking research with young people leaving the "care" system. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 6(3), 255-259.

Wenger, G. Clare (1999). Advantages gained by combining qualitative and quantitative Data in a longitudinal study. Journal of Aging Studies, 13(4), 369-376.

Witt, Harald (2001). Forschungsstrategien bei quantitativer und qualitativer Sozialforschung. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum Qualitative Social Research, 2(1), Art. 8, https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-2.1.969 [Accessed: August 3, 2022].

Witzel, Andreas (2020). Qualitative Längsschnittstudien. In Günter Mey & Katja Mruck (Eds.), Handbuch Qualitative Forschung in der Psychologie (pp.290-303). Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

Wöhrer, Veronika; Vogl, Susanne; Schels, Brigitte; Malschinger, Paul; Mataloni, Barbara & Astleithner, Franz (2022). Methodische Grundlagen und Forschungsdesign der Panelstudie. In Jörg Flecker, Brigitte Schels & Veronika Wöhrer (Eds.), Junge Menschen gehen ihren Weg. Längsschnittanalysen über Jugendliche nach der Neuen Mittelschule (pp.29–56). Göttingen: V&R unipress.

Yin, Robert K. (2006). Mixed methods research: Are the methods genuinely integrated or merely parallel? Research in the Schools, 13(1), 41-47.




How to Cite

Vogl, S. (2023). Mixed Methods Longitudinal Research. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 24(1). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-24.1.4012



Combining Multiple Sampling Techniques, Data Sources and Methods of Analysis